J. Harold Murray

      • 49
      • 1891-02-17 in South Berwick - Maine - USA
      • 1940-12-11

      From Wikipedia J. Harold Murray (February 17, 1891 - December 11, 1940) was an American baritone. For more than a decade, during the Roaring Twenties and the Depression Thirties, he contributed to the development of musical theatre by bridging vaudeville, operetta and the modern American musical. Born Harry Rulten on February 17, 1891 in South Berwick, Maine, "Hal" Murray served in the Merchant Marine during World War I. After the war and a short apprenticeship in vaudeville, he made his debut on the musical theatre stage as J. Harold Murray in out-of-town productions of Arthur Hammerstein's Always You and Frank Tinney's Sometime, both in 1920. In Hollywood from 1929–30, he appeared in the William Fox Studio musicals: Cameo Kirby with Norma Terris; Happy Days; Married In Hollywood with Norma Terris; Women Everywhere with Fifi D'Orsay; and Under Suspicion. Modern theatre musicals emerged from vaudeville and operettas, and J. Harold Murray played an important role in their early development. His acting and strong baritone performances of songs, such as "Rio Rita", "The Ranger’s Song", "Let’s Have Another Cup of Coffee", "Soft Lights and Sweet Music", and "New York in Autumn" were notable then, and his introducing them on the Broadway stage contributed to their withstanding the test of time into the 21st Century.