Joseph Murphy (actor)

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Joseph Murphy
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San Jose, California.
CitizenshipUnited States of America

Joseph "Joe" Murphy began his early career in Vaudeville. He was in a Mutt and Jeff act alongside Little Bobby Vernon and was also one the original Keystone Cops. From the 1910's through the 1940's he worked in many comedy short films. His biggest success was the five years (1923 - 1928) in which he played the very popular character "Andy Gump" in Universal silent film shorts.[1] Many of "The Gumps" shorts were directed by Norman Taurog, who eventually went on to direct many of Dean Martin, Jerry Lewis, and nine of Elvis Presley's movies. [2]

"The Gumps" shorts starred Joe Murphy as Andy Gump, Fay Tincher as Min (Minerva), Jack Morgan as Chester, and Slim Hamilton as Uncle Bim.

"The Gumps" shorts were based on the extremely popular newspaper comic strip (1917 to 1959)[3] readers who anxiously followed the Gumps convoluted storylines. The comic strips were written and drawn by Sidney Smith, "The Gumps" was first published on February 12,1917. The huge popularity of the comic strip eventually gained Interest by Universal Pictures to start the film adaptations which were made into about four dozen or so silent film shorts, produced by Samuel Von Ronken and released by Universal.

The Gumps is part of the National Film preservation effort. As many as 20% of US feature films from the 1910's and 1920's survive in complete form in American archives. The Gump's - Oh! What a Day! was recently preserved at Film Technology Inc. in 2013. It was supervised by George Eastman Museum and funded by Universal Studios. [4]

Personal life and death

Joe Murphy was born Joseph J. Murphy and was born in San Jose, California. His mother Anna (Mahoney) and father John Murphy were married in Michigan, January 13, 1875 before moving to San Jose, California. Joe was tall (6'3") and lanky and was a naturally gifted slapstick comedian. Joe continued to live in California where he worked as a silent moving picture star in Hollywood. He died at the age of 84. He left behind a wife (Marie).

In October of 1920, his young son (Russell) age 16, had gone out with friends the night before Halloween known as "Mischief Night" for the usual pre-Halloween fun in the neighborhood. Teens in the 1920's would go out together on Halloween Eve and do harmless pranks such as "soaping windows". (soaping windows) Unfortunately, the neighbors called the police fearing that the boys were robbers. When the police arrived, an officer shot at the boys as they ran down the hill and one of the boys (Russell) was shot in the back by the police officer who fired upon the boys as the police thought they were burglars based on the call they received from the homeowner. The boys were eventually cleared of any wrongdoing but unfortunately, Joe and Marie lost their son Russell. Joe wanted to continue to bring laughter to the world even though he and his wife had suffered such a tragic loss. [5]

Filmography - The Gumps

Out in the Rain (Short) 1928
Andy Gump
The Cloud Buster (Short) 1928
Andy Gump
Any Old Count (Short) 1928
Andy Gump
A Case of Scotch (Short) 1928
Andy Gump
The Mild West (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Andy Nose his Onions (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
A Total Loss (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Ocean Bruises (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
And How! (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
When Greek Meets Greek (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
A Battle Scared Hero (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Too Much Sleep (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
All Wet (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Circus Daze (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
I'm the Sherriff (Short) 1927 You Tube with New Accompaniment by Ben Model (silent film historian and accompanist)
Andy Gump
Broke Again (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Youth and Beauty (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Up Against It (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
Rooms for Rent (Short) 1927
Andy Gump
I Told You So (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
A Close Call (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
The Big Surprise (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Better Luck (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Lots of Grief (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Never Again (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Tow Service (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Dumb Luck (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Min's Away (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Shady Rest (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
California Here We Come (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Min Walks in Her Sleep (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
Min's Home on the Cliff (Short) 1926
Andy Gump
The Smash Up (Short) 1925
Andy Gump
Andy takes a Flyer (Short) 1925
Andy Gump
Dynamited (Short) 1925
Andy Gump
Chester's Donkey Party (Short) 1925
Andy Gump
Andy's Lion Tale (Short) 1925
Andy Gump
Andy in Hollywood (Short) 1925
Andy Gump
Andy's Stump Speech (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
Andy's Hat in the Ring (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
Westbound (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
A Day of Rest (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
Andy's Temptation (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
What's the Use (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
Oh! Min! (Short) 1924
Andy Gump
Aggravatin' Mama (Short) 1923
Andy Gump
Oh! What a Day! (Short) 1923 National Film Preservation Link Andy Gump
Watch Papa (Short) 1923
Andy Gump
Uncle Bim's Gifts (Short) 1923
Andy Gump

Filmography - Other

You Nazty Spy (Short) 1940
Peasant (uncredited)
Mooching Through Georgia (Short) 1939
Tall Union Soldier (uncredited)
When G-Men Step In 1938
Phone Man (uncredited)
The Man Who Laughs 1928
Hardquanones Messenger (uncredited)
Benson at Calford 1927
Man in Crowd (uncredited)
The Cat and the Canary 1927
The Milkman (uncredited)
The Red Lily 1924
Wagon Driver (uncredited)
Open All Night 1924
Bicycle Race Spectator (uncredited)
Souls For Sale 1923
Motorist (uncredited)
Shadows 1922
Townsman at Engagement (uncredited)
Please Be Careful (Short) 1922
The Playhouse 1921
One of the Zouaves (uncredited)
Skirts 1921
Dynamite (Short) 1920
Trouble (Short)1920
Nurse Marjorie 1920
The Heart Snatcher (Short) 1920
Bass Fiddle Player
The Little Princess 1917
Leader of Forty Bandits (uncredited)
Her Candy Kid (Short) 1917
Joe "Mutt" Murphy
Her Fame and Shame (Short) 1917
Audience Spectator (uncredited)
When Hearts Collide (Short) 1917
Heart Strategy (Short) 1917
Honest Thieves (Short) 1917
Cold Hearts and Hot Flames (Short) 1916
Bald Man in Lobby
The Mystery of the Leaping Fish (Short) 1916
Footman on vehicle (uncredited)
Scars and Stripes Forever (Short) 1916
Love Wires and Short Sparks (Short) 1916


  1. Murphy, Joe. "Joe Murphy: The Original "Gump"". TRAVSD. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  2. Taurog, Norman. "National Film Preservation". National Film Preservation Foundation. Unknown. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  3. Gumps, The. "From the Archives: The 1924 L.A. Times-Gump family shopping promotion". Scott Harrison. Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  4. Preservation Effort, The National. "Preserved Films". Retrieved February 20, 2021.
  5. Murphy, Russell. "Reel Life is not Real Life -December 2, 1920". Los Angeles Post - Record. Retrieved February 19, 2021.

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