Murray, James Jr.

(1871-1957) – Concurrently coach of Columbia (1898-1948) and the New York AC (1891-1954) (where he was also boxing coach). Produced numerous intercollegiate and national champions and Olympians. He was probably the first American to travel to Europe to study to become a fencing master and then make a career of it.




James Murray standing in back row at the left with his Columbia fencing team in 1914. Seated at center is the famous Louis Mouquin.

James Murray requirement dinner, 1942 at the New York Athletic Club


James Murray trained Fredrick March
in fencing and stage combat.

Fredric March starred on the Broadway stage first in 1926 and would return there between screen appearances later on. He won plaudits (and an Academy Award nomination) for his send-up of John Barrymore in The Royal Family of Broadway (1930). Four more Academy Award nominations would come his way, and he would win the Oscar for Best Actor twice: for Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (1931) and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). He could play roles varying from heavy drama to light comedy, and was often best portraying men in anguish, such as Willy Loman in Death of a Salesman (1951).

Lionel Barrymore with James Stewart in “It’s A Wonderful Life”.
James Murray trained Barrymore

 Lionel Barrymore (April 28, 1878 – November 15, 1954) was an American actor of stage, radio and film. He won an Academy Award for Best Actor for his performance in A Free Soul (1931). He is well known for the role of the villainous Henry Potter in Frank Capra’s 1946 film It’s a Wonderful Life.


John Barrymore was trained by James Murray.

John Sidney Blyth Barrymore (February 15, 1882 – May 29, 1942)[ was an American actor, frequently called the greatest of his generation. He first gained fame as a stage actor in light comedy, then high drama and culminating in groundbreaking portrayals in Shakespearean plays Hamlet and Richard III. His success continued with motion pictures in various genres in both the silent and sound eras. Barrymore’s personal life has been the subject of much writing before and since his passing in 1942.

A member of a multi-generation theatrical dynasty, he was the brother of Lionel Barrymore and Ethel Barrymore, and is the paternal grandfather of Drew Barrymore.

Ethel Barrymore was also trained by James Murray.

 Ethel Barrymore was a highly regarded stage actress in New York City and a major Broadway performer. Many today consider her to be the greatest actress of her generation.

She was the daughter of the playwright Maurice Barrymore and the actress Georgina Drew Barrymore, was born in Philadelphia on 15th August, 1879.

Barrymore made her professional debut on the stage in New York City in 1894. She travelled to London where she worked with Henry Irving in The Bells (1897). Other important roles in England and America included Peter the Great (1898), Captain Jinks of the Horse Marines (1901), Alice Sit By the Fire (1905), Mid-Channel (1910) and Trelawney of the Wells (1911).

In 1914 Barrymore made her film debut in The Nightingale (1914). Although she preferred the stage, Barrymore made several films including the award winning, None But the Lonely Heart (1944) and The Spiral Staircase (1946).


 James Murray trained A.J. Drexel Biddle

Anthony Joseph Drexel Biddle, a Philadelphia millionaire from a Quaker family that came to the United States in the 1600’s,  was renowned as an eccentric gentleman with his fortune allowing him full time pursuits of theatricals, self published writing, athletics and Christianity; he also kept alligators as pets. He formed a movement called “Athletic Christianity” that eventually attracted 300,000 members around the world.

Biddle, an officer in the United States Marine Corps, was an expert in close-quarters fighting and the author of Do or Die: A Supplementary Manual on Individual Combat, a book on combat methods, including knives and empty-hand skills training both the United States Marine Corps in two world wars and Special Agents of the Federal Bureau of Investigation. He can be seen training Marines in the RKO short documentary Soldiers of the Sea.

A keen boxer, Biddle sparred with Jack Johnson and taught boxing to Gene Tunney.

James Murray once had the privelege of fencing Prince Edward VII

Edward VII (Albert Edward; 9 November 1841 – 6 May 1910) was King of the United Kingdom and the British Dominions and Emperor of India from 22 January 1901 until his death on 6 May 1910. He was the first British monarch of the House of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, which was renamed the House of Windsor by his son, George V.