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Sam McMurray Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (2) | Mini Bio (1) | Trivia (6) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (2)

Date of Birth 15 April 1952New York City, New York, USA
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Sam McMurray was born on April 15, 1952 in New York City, New York, USA. He is an actor and producer, known for Raising Arizona (1987), National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation (1989) and Drop Dead Gorgeous (1999).

Trivia (6)

Stepson of Lesley Woods.
Ranked #3 on Tropopkin's Top 25 Most Intriguing People [Issue #100].
He was the first person to guest star on the TV series The Simpsons (1989), which holds the record for Most Guest Stars Featured in a TV Series (as of 2011).
Played a surgical oncologist in two successful TV series - Dr Kennedy in the Sopranos and Dr Bravenec in Breaking Bad.
McMurray made appearances on both of Bryan Cranston's most well-known TV series: "Malcolm in the Middle" (2000-2006) and "Breaking Bad" (2008-2013).

Personal Quotes (4)

(2012) People come up and quote lines from The Wizard, and I don't know what the hell they're talking about. It was [directed by] Todd Holland, who of course went on to much success with Garry Shandling [on The Larry Sanders Show] and so forth. I had a good time on the set. It was interesting, 'cause Christian Slater was breaking out big, although the star really of the moment was Fred Savage. I thought Beau [Bridges] was terrifically tuned into what was happening. He took the work seriously-not without a sense of humor, but he was just always there and focused. Christian at the time I think was exploring his particular persona, and he was... what can I say, he was completely enamored of Jack Nicholson. Every time they'd basically wrapped a shot, he'd go "Can I have one more?" and he'd do it à la Jack. And they'd go, "Fine," and then we'd move on.
(2012, on Stone Cold) It was the movie that would never end. I don't know what the original shooting schedule was, but I think I worked close to 20 weeks on the thing. I guess we shot in '90, and it was before the first Iraq war, and then we did reshoots in L.A. It went on and on forever. I mean, it was a great payday for me. In those days, you'd actually make money in movies. Really, it all changed about five years later. They said anybody fourth-lead or less gets scale plus 10, take it or leave it, and that's pretty much been the edict by which we've all worked or tried to work. That's why it's so hard to make a living these days. This whole system of quotes in movies: You made X amount of dollars per week on your last movie. Will they match your quote, or will they do better than it? Or if they didn't match it, then it would be a no-talk clause, which meant that it was sort of under the table and understood, but you didn't talk about how much less you were making. Then the studios realized there's no dearth of talent out there. There's no lack of good actors, so if you don't want it, just go on to Plan B. I remember doing Mod Squad not long after that. That's a studio picture for MGM, and I worked for scale. Take it or leave it. But before that, I was making money in movies, and Stone Cold was an example of that, but it was something I think I was supposed to be on for eight weeks.
(2012) I would have to say overall I think one of my favorite shoots is Raising Arizona. The tenor of the set was absolutely pitch-perfect. There was no money to be made. The movie was made for $2 million. We were making whatever SAG scale was at the time for a week, which is less than a thousand dollars I think, but they went to such extremes to make us feel welcome in Scottsdale. You were out there in the desert, you know. They'd send a stick truck out there and have the inside lined with plastic, like garbage bags, and it would be filled with ice so that by the time the sun melted it at lunch time, it was a cool swimming pool, and the grips would jump in. The food was great, which is I think one of the most important things on a set-that you don't go cheap on lunch. Seriously. It absolutely shows respect, and it inspires people. Actors would go to the set and wrap cable on days we weren't working. It was just that congenial an atmosphere. Plus, you have to remember there were three people directing the movie. Not just the Coen brothers, but Barry Sonnenfeld as well, who was the DP and spoke up like he was what he is now, which is a director. He'd go, "That doesn't work for me." I'd go, "Do you want me more camera left?" and he'd go, "No, no. The moment." Huh? And the Coens would shake their heads yes and I'd go, "Okay," and somehow it worked. Plus, that script was so airtight. It was so specific and singular. The voice it had, I thought it was really a no-brainer.
(2012, on The Tracey Ullman Show) I'd just moved to L.A. I'd done Raising Arizona in early '86, and I read for whoever the original casting director was and I didn't get it. I didn't think anything of it, and then they called me back a few weeks later and said, "We wanna see you again." There was this character named Francesca, this 13-year-old valley girl and she had two dads. The first Francesca sketch, they said, "Play the guy not so gay." And I said "I disagree." I had a big mouth then-still do. I said, "I think he's more the woman. I think he's more out there." So I read and I read it big, and they cast me. It was just a one-off, and then we were on hiatus. I did the one week, and I had a friend coincidentally who used to write, a guy named Marc Flanagan, and he was on the show as a staff guy. He called me up and said, "Did they call your agent?" I said, "No, why?" He said, "They wanna make you a regular." It took two weeks and 12 hours and they finally made the deal, so then I did the show for three-plus seasons, however long it ran. I remember finishing the first full year thinking, "We're gone," and I remember saying that to somebody who was a big producer at Fox who I liked a lot and he said, "What are you talking about?" I said, "We're not coming back." And I was right as it turned out, which was a shame because we got to do a lot of things on that show.

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