By Janee Law
Don Murray, a former Lloyd Neck resident and actor who once starred alongside Marilyn Monroe in “Bus Stop,” is the focus of an upcoming program at the Cinema Arts Centre in Huntington, slated for Sunday morning.
The event will feature a documentary based on the actor, “Don Murray, Unsung Hero,” and a film he produced and starred in, “Call Me By My Rightful Name.” Murray was originally expected to attend the event, but will be unable to due to medical reasons. Instead, however, Murray plans to discuss both films with the audience through an online Skype chat.
“It’s going to be a marvelous event,” Murray, 86, of Santa Barbara, said. “We’ve done this at other places... and people have responded to it very well. I’m looking forward to the same thing happening” in Huntington.
Murray grew up in East Rockaway, and moved to Lloyd Neck in 1973. He lived there until 1977 before moving to California.
The event starts at 10 a.m. with brunch. Then, at 11 a.m., “Don Murray, Unsung Hero” will be screened.
The documentary shines light on Murray’s career in Hollywood, including his successful film “Bus Stop,” in which he starred opposite of Marilyn Monroe. The documentary also depicts Murray’s off-screen efforts, including his 10-year stint volunteering overseas with the Brethren Volunteer Service, which came before the Peace Corps.
After the documentary, the audience will witness the the Long Island premiere of “Call Me By My Rightful Name” at 1 p.m. The film, which Murray adapted from the 1961 off-Broadway production starring Robert Duvall, Joan Hackett and Alvin Ailey, was completed in 1971. But, Murray said, he wasn’t able to sell it to a major studio because the racial issues it tackles were controversial at the time.
The film features Murray and Otis Young as best friends and biracial roommates. Their relationship hits a rough patch when Murray’s character discovers that the woman he loves previously had a relationship with Young’s character.
As an actor, Murray said he spent a lot of his time devoted to productions that broke racial boundaries, starring in films like “Sweet Love Bitter” and television series “The Outcasts.”
With recent mass shootings in Minnesota, Louisiana and Texas, Murray said racial issues are very much at the forefront today.
“The racial situation has improved in many ways, certainly institutionally it’s improved, but still psychologically within people we’re not managing it very well,” Murray said. “That’s why this film is very topical today. It’s very important to get it out there for people today because it’s what’s happening in our world.”
Through Skype, Murray plans to discuss both films, alongside Don Malcolm, director of “Don Murray, Unsung Hero;” Murray’s son, Chris; and film historians Foster Hirsch and Jud Newborn.
Tickets for the event are $15 for the public and $10 for members. They can be purchased at Cinemaartscentre.org.