One of Hollywood's tragic stories, James Murray had a brief moment of stardom before succumbing to alcoholism and dying at the age of 35. He got his start in the short "The Pilgrims" in 1924 and decided to head to Hollywood to pursue his dream of becoming an actor. After several years of extra work he starred in the drama"In Old Kentucky" in 1927 and played next to Joan Crawford in "Rose-Marie." Searching for an actor for his grim tale of alienation, director King Vidor thought Murray would be perfect; the silent film "The Crowd" turned into a major hit, earning Vidor an Oscar nomination and making lead actor Murray an overnight star. He then starred in the Tod Browning crime film "The Big City" and the 1929 William Wyler drama "The Shakedown." Murray also appeared with Lon Chaney in "Thunder" and in the Michael Curtiz musical "Bright Lights" in 1930. Despite beginning to struggle with his personal life, he had a few more starring roles in the early '30s, including the crime drama "The Reckoning" in 1932, and in one of his last major roles, "Central Airport," in 1933. For whatever reason, he found success difficult to handle and he eventually descended into a life of alcohol abuse and destitution. Reduced to playing bit parts at the time of his death, Murray drowned in the Hudson River under mysterious circumstances, prompting Vidor to write a script based on his life called "The Actor," which has never been produced.