Betty Murphy was a character actress with a number of television and film appearances to her credit, including recurring roles on two series. She began her career with a bit part in the TV movie "Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan" (1975), with five years passing before her next role. This time, however, it was in a high-profile film, the hit "Urban Cowboy" (1980), in which she played the mother of John Travolta's starring character of Bud. Once again, a wide gulf of time passed until her supporting role in the World War I drama "1918" (1985). The 1990s proved more fruitful for Murphy, as she garnered several parts on TV, including guest roles on the David E. Kelley comedy-drama "Picket Fences" (CBS 1992-96) and in the Eddie Murphy film "Life" (1999). As the calendar turned to the 2000s, Murphy's career continued to pick up steam, as she accumulated a number television credits playing middle-aged character roles on a variety of situation comedies and procedural dramas. She scored her first recurring role as neighborhood crazy cat lady Alberta Fromme on the campy "Desperate Housewives" (ABC 2004-2012). Murphy's steady work in film and television continued unabated after she left "Desperate Housewives" in 2006. She returned to series TV in 2013 with a recurring role in the dark comedy-drama "Getting On" (HBO 2013-15).
First professional role: "Attack on Terror: The FBI vs. the Ku Klux Klan" (TV movie)
First film role as John Travolta's mother in "Urban Cowboy"
Earned first recurring TV role on "Desperate Housewives"