Murphy, originally from Grand Rapids, Michigan, is the fifth of seven children, all born on different days of the week. He is Thursday’s child, which kind of sounds like a Lifetime movie. During his last two years of high school, he worked in an auto parts factory to save enough money to move to Chicago and attend Loyola University. There he began taking classes at Second City and eventually dropped out of college to move to Los Angeles, where he was promptly fired from a catering company for not smiling at Morgan Fairchild.
David Milch gave Murphy his first real break by casting him in the ABC series Capital News, which led to other roles, as well as a Daytime Emmy nomination for his performance in The Perfect Date, an ABC Afterschool Special that featured a lot of smiling. But Murphy’s first love was writing, so he quit acting and began renovating houses while writing independent films that took years to get made. Three of those films were eventually produced, including Milwaukee, Minnesota, which won the Young Critics Award at the 2003 Cannes Film Festival.
In 2008, Murphy touched off a bidding war among publishers with Confessions of a Contractor, a novel based on his experiences renovating houses. He sold the novel to Putnam-Penguin, then adapted it into a one-hour drama pilot for 20th Century Television and CBS, with Shawn Ryan producing. Since then, Murphy has written numerous pilots, both drama and single-camera comedies for most of the major networks. He is now in the middle of designing and building his own house in Silver Lake.