Happy Birthday Oscar Winner & El Pasoan F. Murray Abraham
F. Murray Abraham, the Academy Award-winning actor who grew up in El Paso, is celebrating his 83rd birthday today!
Mr. Abraham won his Oscar for his portrayal of Salieri in the 1984 film Amadeus.
That movie won not only Best Actor for Murray but also Best Director and Best Picture. F. Murray Abraham steals every scene he’s in.
There are several celebrities who spent a brief time in their life in El Paso. There are some who were born here but moved away at such a young age that they don’t have any memory of it. F. Murray Abraham, though, moved with his family to El Paso when he was four years old.
He grew up here and graduated from El Paso High. He attended Texas Western (now UTEP) and worked at one of the Farah garment factories. His family ran a landmark Italian restaurant on Mesa Street, Como’s, that only closed a few years ago. Also, his mother was kind enough to let me hold his Oscar statuette. That was very cool.
Mr. Abraham did a recent interview in the Wall Street Journal and he talked about his upbringing and years in El Paso. Here’s the link to that interview. It has a paywall, so here are some of the highlights.
Murray (he once told me I could call him Murray) said that when he was young he joined a gang. Not a BAD gang, mind you. They were called The Rogues and they engaged in some minor delinquencies like vandalism, joy-riding in stolen cars, and some non-lethal fighting with other gangs.
He talks about once getting in a fight (fists, no guns) with a tougher gang. The other Rogues ran off and left him to take the beating. So, Murray Abraham decided to focus on theater instead of thug life. He won a state acting competition in Austin when he was in high school and got into Texas Western where he pursued his career.
So, if you were a former member of The Rogues, you should feel really bad that you let such a universally loved and talented artist to the mercy of his enemies.
SHAME ON YOU, ROGUES!