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Homeless to Harvard: The Liz Murray Story (2003)

TV-14 | | Biography, Drama | TV Movie 7 April 2003
Based on a true story. Liz Murray is a young girl who is taken care of by her loving, but drug-addicted parents. Liz becomes homeless at 15 and after a tragedy comes upon her, she begins her work to finish high school.



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Nominated for 3 Primetime Emmys. Another 3 wins & 3 nominations. See more awards »


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Cast overview, first billed only:
Robert Bockstael ...
Makyla Smith ...
Jennifer Pisana ...
Young Liz
Young Lisa
Marla McLean ...
Marguerite McNeil ...
Amber Godfrey ...
Seamus Morrison ...
John Fulton ...
Old Irish Cop
Rejean Cournoyer ...
Young Irish Cop
Mauralea Austin ...
Miss Wanda


Based on a true story. Liz Murray is a young girl who is taken care of by her loving, but drug-addicted parents. Liz becomes homeless at 15 and after a tragedy comes upon her, she begins her work to finish high school.

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis


When there was nothing to believe in, she believed in herself.


Biography | Drama


TV-14 | See all certifications »

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Release Date:

7 April 2003 (USA)  »

Also Known As:

Abbandonata Dal Destino  »

Filming Locations:

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Did You Know?


Based on the true story of Elizabeth "Liz" Murray. The real Liz appeared in the movie as a social worker and was also a co-producer for the production. See more »


Liz Murray: I loved my mother, so much. She was a drug addict. She was an alcoholic. She was legally blind. She was a schizophrenic. But I never forgot, that she did love me. Even if, if she did. All the time. All the time. All the... All the time.
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Referenced in The Murder Pact (2015) See more »


Performed by Maren Ord
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User Reviews

Something great for the whole family-HIGHLY unusual!
29 September 2006 | by See all my reviews

In my personal opinion, which is why we have the opportunity to leave these "comments"--this was a nicely done made-for-TV-movie. I usually do like anything Lifetime does, and although our testosterone-filled counterparts normally consider EVERY Lifetime project a "chic-flick"- I even think my hubby will enjoy this one(when I find out when it re-airs-I'm going to force him to watch it-LOL-he's not a "movie" person and considers going to the movies "paying $7.50 to take a nap in a nice cool dark place!") One thing I didn't care for was wondering at the end why she left Harvard-I have found out through this forum(hopefully it is true) that although she did in fact leave Harvard, she then chose another school, and graduated--but only to be closer to her ailing father. That was nice to find out. It brought tears to my eyes when she was narrating about her "lice infested hair" and that her teachers were always fussing at her to stop fidgeting- but that was hard to do--due to her not knowing anything about personal hygiene-which caused her to "just wear her panties until they fell apart"-yes that is quite "gross" to the general public, but SO sad to think that such a young child wasn't able to figure out how to wash her own panties at least in the sink to avoid having to sit in filthy underwear on a daily basis, causing her bottom to be so raw that it was painful just to sit in class. That really "hit home"-not that I personally went through anything like that-but it was at that point in the movie that it really sunk in that so many children actually live through these types of situations- only to be ignored by the system-and and when the system FINALLY gets a heads up-the children are treated like dirt- by the social service workers(very meanly and uncaring)and placed in places like she was where the older children regularly beat and abuse the other children! Now THAT part of the movie I personally COULD relate to- I worked in a foster/group facility- ("home" is wayyy too nice to describe this place) in a small "city" named Central, SC, called "Helping Hands of Clemson" and eventually quit due to the higher ups not doing a dang thing about staff treating children poorly(placing a 3 year old in a dark closet because he would not go to sleep and holding the door shut...and later laughing/bragging about the fact that "the little brat actually figured out where the light switch was so we have to figure out something else to torture him with so he will go to bed instead of crying for his Nanna and keeping the other kids up!"), other children beating on their peers, wrong medications being given(Example:Giving PeptoBismol for tummy aches to children under the age of 18-when it clearly states on the bottle the warnings about Reyes Syndrome!)-and also- given by UNcertified personnel--just a slew of wrongdoings--and YES-I did report the facility to the "proper authorities" (more than once)--HA-nothing was done except the directors had to make sure that every shift had a houseparent that had gone to classes to become CPR certified. All of this "reporting" made it nearly impossible for me to stay working there since I was labeled "Miss Know-It-All"! And being anonymous ...there is no such thing!Thats a joke too! They ALL knew it was me because I was the only one appalled by the things that were going on around me! Reporting these places-thinking you are doing the right thing--what a laugh!

Anyway- all in all- this is a good-eye opening family movie, which truly gives children, young adults, and in fact-ANYONE-- a good message .... being able to succeed!!!--even with very big obstacles in life....all it takes is a lot of dedication and yes- HARD work! It shows how to not play the "victim"--BREAK the cycle! I do wish I would have known that Liz herself had played a part of a social worker in the movie so I could see what she looks like- I can't wait to see if it comes on again and when, or I will have to figure out where to buy or rent it!

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