Jim Murray, 76 took pic of Oswald atop a file cabinet

Discussion in 'Photography' started by TJ-BF, Jan 30, 2006.

  1. TJ-BF

    TJ-BF Guest

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    Jim Murray

    12:29 PM CST on Saturday, January 28, 2006
    By JOE SIMNACHER / The Dallas Morning News

    Jim Murray was a Dallas freelance photographer who captured some of the most
    noted images of the aftermath of President John F. Kennedy's assassination.

    His classic photo of Lee Harvey Oswald in police custody has appeared in
    publications around the world and has been displayed at the Museum of Modern
    Art in New York.

    Mr. Murray, 76, died Wednesday of complications of cancer at Treemont
    Nursing and Rehabilitation Center in Dallas.

    A memorial service will be at 11 a.m. today at St. Monica Catholic Church,
    9933 Midway Road.

    "His photo take of the weekend is probably, bar none, the most extensive
    take of the week," said Richard Trask, an archivist and author who has
    studied the photography of the Kennedy assassination. "He had a fire in his
    belly and wanted to make sure he recorded as much of the story as possible.
    Instead of being specifically assigned by a photo editor to do one specific
    thing, he just kind of broadcast his photography all over the place."

    The evening of Nov. 22, 1963, Mr. Murray leapt atop a file cabinet to
    capture Oswald from above. The photo was used in the next issue of Life
    magazine. Gerald Ford, the Warren Commission member who later became
    president, used the photo for the cover of his 1965 book, Portrait of the

    Jim Murray used a file cabinet to capture this image of Lee Harvey Oswald
    and police after the JFK assassination. Mr. Murray's photo of the handcuffed
    Oswald surrounded by Stetson-capped officers is one of the top images of the
    tragic day, Mr. Trask said. He ranks Mr. Murray's photo with Bob Jackson's
    photo of Jack Ruby shooting Oswald and James Altgens' photo of the motorcade
    under fire.

    "Those are probably the three classic pictures that came out of the
    assassination story," said Mr. Trask, who chronicled the photography and
    photographers in his 1994 book, Pictures of the Pain: Photography and the
    Assassination of President Kennedy.

    The Black Star photo agency sold the rights to Mr. Trask's 1963 images,
    which others also used without permission.

    Mr. Murray also covered the funeral of Dallas police Officer J.D. Tippit and
    made photographs for the assassination's first anniversary for clients that
    included an Italian magazine, Mr. Trask said. He also covered the trial of
    Ruby, who shot Oswald on national television on Nov. 24, 1963.

    Born in Rockford, Ill., Mr. Murray moved to Texas as a teenager. He served
    in the Navy aboard a destroyer escort. He attended the University of
    Missouri, the University of Houston and the University of Arizona before
    receiving his bachelor's degree in journalism from Southern Methodist
    University in 1954.

    For five years after college, he expanded his knowledge of photography while
    working for the Dallas bureaus of WBAP-TV (Channel 5) and KRLD-TV (Channel

    In August 1960, he became an assistant news director at KENS-TV in San

    On the day of the assassination, Mr. Murray was a Dallas-based freelance
    photographer. That Friday, he was preparing to film a Southern Methodist
    University football game for WFAA-TV (Channel 8). He happened to be near
    Dealey Plaza when the shooting took place.

    "He was a freelance photographer. I don't think he ever liked being
    encumbered by what other people wanted him to do," Mr. Trask said.

    In 1966, Mr. Murray joined Dallas photographer Shel Hershorn in forming
    Hershorn/Murray Studios in Oak Lawn.

    Mr. Murray also made a number of documentaries during his career, including
    one for the city of Dallas on the creation and transportation of sculptor
    Henry Moore's work that now graces the plaza in front of City Hall.

    He was known as a mentor to many young Dallas photographers.

    Mr. Murray's dedication to his work continued after a 1989 stroke left him
    unable to use the right side of his body. He commissioned a documentary on
    his recovery efforts, Mr. Trask said. It was not completed but was an
    indication of his passion for his work.

    Mr. Murray is survived by his wife, Aida, of Dallas; daughter Anne Nance of
    Dallas; son David Murray of Dallas; brother Bill Murray of Rockford, Ill.;
    and six grandchildren.
    TJ-BF, Jan 30, 2006
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