March 7, 1959
Corona, New York, United States
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The petite, brunette Murphy garnered critical kudos and a handful of awards, including a 1994 Best Actress Tony, for her intense, dramatic portrayal of Fosca in the Stephen Sondheim-James Lapine stage musical "Passion." Portraying an ugly woman wracked by an unnamed illness who falls in love with a handsome soldier, she mesmerized audiences with the raw power of her performance. Murphy had honed her craft in the Broadway and off-Broadway arena moving from the chorus ("They're Playing Our Song") to playing leading roles ("Drood," "Song of Singapore"). She made her feature debut as a tough cop investigating a murder in William Friedkin's "Jade" (1995). That same year, she brilliantly delineated an unhappily married woman whose ex-husband becomes embroiled in a murder investigation in the ABC series "Murder One." In 1996, she returned to the stage co-starring opposite Lou Diamond Phillips in a revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's "The King & I" for which she earned a second Tony Award as Lead Actress in a Musical.