Gary Murray, a Dallas film writer and president of the North Texas Film Critics Association, was killed in a car crash on April 23. Murray, who was 53, died doing what he loved most: covering the art of film.
Murray was on-site at the Dallas International Film Festival when he was hit by a car while crossing Mockingbird Lane. His death was confirmed by his brother Danny.
"My brother Gary was killed last night in Dallas," Danny said. "He was hit by a car that ran a red light while he was walking at a crosswalk, and the person did not even stop."
According to the Dallas Police Department, officers responded to a call at Mockingbird and North Central Expressway service road regarding a hit and run at approximately 10:16 pm. A vehicle, possibly a truck, hit a pedestrian and left the scene. The individual was transported by DFR to Baylor Medical Center.
Publicist Kelly Kitchens Wickersham said that Murray was leaving the Highlands Dallas Hotel and crossing Mockingbird Lane at the intersection of US-75 when he was hit.
"Apparently, the car came up the frontage road and took a right onto Mockingbird without stopping," she said.
Murray had experienced some complications from diabetes in the past year and walked with a cane. "Several of his toes had been amputated, he'd been in and out of the hospital, but he was doing really well," Wickersham said.
According to his friend Jason Logan, Murray passed away at Baylor Hospital a little after 2 am.
"Police are investigating to find out who ran him down as he crossed through a crosswalk on Mockingbird Lane last night," Logan said in a Facebook post. "He was conducting interviews for the Dallas International Film Festival and he was innocently walking back across Mockingbird when some coward decided to plow through the right turn lane to get to 75, ran him down, and kept on going."
Murray was a columnist, critic, and reviewer who began writing in 1989 for the North Dallas Movie Review. He also wrote for Entertainment Showcase, TheCityWeb, PopSyndicate.com, BigFanBoy.com, and Selig Film services. He was a founding member of the North Texas Film Critics Association and served as president since 2009.
He was also a comedian who taught comedy defensive driving, and had worked at The Magic Time Machine Restaurant and Lounge, where he was beloved by coworkers such as Clint Ford, who posted a memoriam to him.
"While I was working in costume in 2001 at the themed restaurant, The Magic Time Machine Restaurant and Lounge, I was trained for a month by Gary Murray," Ford said. "Gary was kind, patient, and a great instructor."
Dallas Film Society president Lee Papert said that the Dallas International Film Festival, which ends on Sunday April 24, would acknowledge Murray's passing at the screenings airing during its final two days.
"We talked to his friends and associates who said that Gary would want the festival to continue, since he loved nothing more than film," Papert said. "We're putting up an 'in memoriam' notice before each of the screenings in memory of Gary."
They'll also host an event dedicated to Murray in the future.
"We'll work with his family and close friends to have some kind of memorial event after the other funeral arrangements are taken care of, maybe with one of his favorite movies, where we invite all his friends and film press," Papert said.
A statement from the Dallas Film Society expressed shock and sadness "by the tragic passing of our friend and colleague, Gary Murray last night following the DFS Honors event."
"Gary was a familiar face on the red carpet and was instrumental in bringing attention to our filmmakers and the Dallas Film Society mission," the statement said. "Our hearts and thoughts are with his friends and family at this time. Gary was a friend to many in the film world and a huge fan of DIFF. He was highly respected and loved by many and leaves behind a true passion for film."
On Murray's last post on April 21, he was doing what he loved: interviews on the red carpet.
"On the scene Dallas on the red carpet with Michael Hernandez at this year's DIFF," he wrote. "Covering several days and watching a bunch of movies!!!! Loving it!!!!"