James Murray drowned after falling from the 46 North River pier on July 11, 1936. He was born February 9, 1901 in New York. He grew up in Bedford Park & worked as a doorman before he pursued an acting career. He made his film debut in The Pilgrims (1924). He & his brother left for Hollywood; the brothers separated at Chicago. After he appeared as an extra in Tillie the Toiler (1927), director King Vidor gave him the lead in The Crowd (1928). Although Irving Thalberg believed in the project & Murray as an actor, Louis B. Mayer called it “that goddamn toilet picture” & shelved the film for a year. He was then assigned a lead role in John Stahl's In Old Kentucky (1927); this still of him (center) was from this film. It was filmed on stage 5 of MGM's Culver City lot; his costar Lincoln Perry (aka Stepin Fetchit) wrote from on the set for an African American newspaper. On August 27, 1927, he wrote: "Everyone, including the president, stars, extras eat together in one big dining room, no partitions, no sign of prestige. And to think these people make thousands a week salary, have the best of everything and feel at home to eat beside you regardless of color. What an example this could be to the white supremacy of the South." The film was a hit & the start of a successful career for Perry. Murray's career had a similar trajectory initially but his alcoholism jinxed it. He was charged with driving while intoxicated in the summer of 1930 & was given 6 months in jail when he appeared drunk at court. He had been appearing in Poverty Row films when he was sentenced to 4 months hard labor due to excessive drinking in 1932. Actress Marion Sayers visited him in jail & married him in 1933. After his release, he signed a 7-year contract with Warner Brothers but after 2 supporting roles for the studio & 2 lead roles on loan, he find himself in uncredited bits come 1933. Sayers filed for divorced after he refused to work & sponged off her friends. His final films roles were bit parts. He attempted a comeback in vaudeville the March before he died & had been drinking with friends the night of his death. He was buried at Calvary Cemetery in Woodside, Queens.