ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

Remembering Veterans - Audie Murphy Actor and War Hero

Updated on May 22, 2011

He Played Himself in His Biggest Role

Each year on Veteran's Day many TV channels broadcast war movies intended to honor the exploits of our veterans.

Among those shown is the 1955 movie "To Hell and Back" staring Audie Murphy. Unlike most of the war movies that are shown that day, the hero in "To Hell and Back" is played by himself.

The role movie star Audie Murphy played in front of the cameras in 1955 was the same role that he played as a real combat soldier in North Africa, Italy and France a decade earlier.

The big difference was that the first time around the guns were real, there was no script and the ending was not known.

Audie Murphy in Uniform with Medals from World War II
Audie Murphy in Uniform with Medals from World War II | Source

The son of poor Texas cotton farmers with only a grade school education, Audie, like many young men of his generation, was anxious to defend his country.

After being rejected by the Marines and the Navy because of his size and youth, he finally convinced the Army to take him.

Despite his youth and lack of formal education, he quickly became an expert fighter and respected leader in his unit.

During his three years of combat he earned 33 medals and awards.

These awards included a Purple Heart, the Congressional Medal of Honor and numerous other American medals for bravery.

In addition to his American medals he was also awarded five medals from France and Belgium in gratitude for his help to them.

During this same period he rose in rank from Private to Sergeant and ended his military career with a battlefield commission as a Second Lieutenant.

Despite being a recognized hero after the war, Audie at first had to struggle to support himself with odd jobs. The skills which he had acquired during the war were not transferable to the civilian economy.

However, he got a break when actor James Cagney saw hiss picture on the cover of Life Magazine and invited Audie into his home. Cagney and others got Audie parts in some movies. Audie never claimed to be an actor, but his fame coupled with his easy manner and outgoing personality made him popular with the American public and he ended up having a successful career in movies and television.

Audie Murphy's career was cut short when, on a foggy Memorial Day in 1971, the private plane he was flying in crashed into the side of a mountain in Virginia killing all on board. However, his memory lives on the annals of history and in his movies which can still be seen on TV and DVD.

© 2006 Chuck Nugent


    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • aethelthryth profile image


      6 years ago from American Southwest

      I remember reading some book about WWII where some veteran made a rather disparaging comment about Audie Murphy being a showoff. Even if he was, I think what he did in Hollywood was important. Even though war movies aren't usually very accurate, they get people like me intrigued to learn more about what really happened. I don't know if I would have ever voluntarily bothered to learn anything about WWII, without "To Hell and Back", "Patton", and "Tora! Tora! Tora!".

      Thank you for a Hub remembering someone who helped many remember his whole generation.

    • profile image


      7 years ago from Dayton, ohio

      While He was a mediocre actor he was still a true hero.

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      7 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Kristine - thanks for the information. However, I checked the family forest link you included in your comment and the relationship between Audie Murphy and Sargent York was rather distant. Actually, most people in the United States or Canada who have an ancestor from the British Isles could probably discover a similar family relationship with one or both of these men.

      Thanks again for the comment and information.

    • profile image


      8 years ago

      Here’s a Veterans’ Day question.

      According to the recorded history mapped out and networked in the Family Forest®, and summarized in this computer-generated Family Forest® relationship chart, both Sergeant Alvin York and Audie Murphy are....

    • dahoglund profile image

      Don A. Hoglund 

      8 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

      I read "To Hell and Back" when I was just out of high school.Most of us had the draft on our mind although I was a reservist. As I recall, I think he said he lied about his age to get in the Army at 15 years of age.

    • VickeyK profile image


      11 years ago

      Loved this hub--thanks for reminding us of this hero!

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      r a comment this was a very thing to do for Audie he was one of kind he saved alot of amcania lives during the war he was walking where most would never has the guts to go god bless him

    • Chuck profile imageAUTHOR

      Chuck Nugent 

      12 years ago from Tucson, Arizona

      Thankyou. I remember watching as a kid on Saturday mornings in the western that he stared in for a while. Of course, I have seen "To Hell and Back" a number of times. Thanks a gain for the comment and glad you enjoyed the article.

    • profile image


      12 years ago

      Great hub. Audie was my childhood hero. Glad to see such a nice tribute to him.


    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at:

    Show Details
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the or domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)