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Alum, Film Critic, and MLK Scholar

Gotlieb Center’s Charles E. “Ted” Murphy dies at 52


Charles Edward Murphy, Jr. (CAS’80, GSM’84), 52, manager of digital archival resources at the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center, died April 5 at his home in Cambridge, following a brief illness.

A Trustee Scholar, Murphy earned joint undergraduate degrees at the College of Arts & Sciences, in English and history.

He began his archival training as an undergraduate at the University’s Department of Special Collections (now the Howard Gotlieb Archival Research Center), where he became an exhibit coordinator and junior archivist. In the latter capacity, he assisted Taylor Branch in researching his Pulitzer Prize–winning studies of the civil rights movement, becoming deeply versed in Boston University’s collection of the papers of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (GRS’55, Hon.’59).

After earning an MBA in marketing and finance from BU, Murphy moved to Manhattan. He became involved with the American Theatre Wing, the sponsor of the Tony Awards, allowing him to channel his passion for both serious drama and musicals; the Foundation Center, a national clearinghouse for philanthropy; and the Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives: The 1960s, contributing essays on Lady Bird Johnson, philanthropist Stewart R. Mott, and former Yale president Kingman Brewster, Jr.

From 1995 to 2002, he was an editor and writer at the online journal and entertainment industry database Baseline, writing over 600 film reviews and interviewing more than 100 celebrities. While at Baseline, he collaborated with Microsoft in writing and editing over 400 entries for its CD-ROM Cinemania. He also established his own film review Web site and was a founder of New York Film Critics Online.

In 2007 he returned to BU as manager of the Gotlieb Center’s Martin Luther King, Jr., Archival Collaborative, which has created an online search aid for the King Papers in Boston and Atlanta. He was recently appointed the center’s first manager of digital archival resources, a position recognizing  his technical acumen and archival command.

Memorial services are being planned both in Providence and in Boston. A. J. Spears Funeral Home, 124 Western Ave., Cambridge, will be coordinating arrangements. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations to Environment Massachusetts, 44 Winter St., Suite 401, Boston, Mass.


2 Comments on Alum, Film Critic, and MLK Scholar

  • Samantha Khosla on 04.22.2010 at 10:48 am

    This is terribly sad. A few months ago, I was working on a project and needed to educate myself about digital archiving. After several phone calls, I finally found Ted. He spent a long time on the phone with me answering my questions and helping me to get a handle on my project. He didn’t mind my calling out of the blue, and he didn’t adopt a “this is not my job” attitude. He was very nice and helpful. My condolences to his family, friends, and colleagues.

  • Anonymous on 04.22.2010 at 1:58 pm

    My condolences to Vita and her team. They work hard and I know Ted will be missed terribly.

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