Annie Murphy | The Canadian Encyclopedia

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Annie Murphy

Anne Frances Murphy, actor, producer, writer (born 19 December 1986 in Ottawa, ON). Annie Murphy is best known for her acclaimed portrayal of Alexis Rose in the hit CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek (2015–20) for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award in 2020. She also starred in the short-lived sitcom Kevin Can F**k Himself (2021–22) and has appeared in series such as Russian Doll and Black Mirror.

Early Life and Education

Annie Murphy was born and raised in Ottawa, Ontario. She is of Irish ancestry and both of her parents were teachers. Murphy has stated that her interest in acting is rooted in her love of reading. As a child, she was preoccupied with the idea that people only have one life to live, but through books she could experience the lives of the characters. She considers acting to be a natural extension of this idea.

Murphy began acting while in high school. She then studied acting at Queen’s University in Kingston before graduating from the Theatre Performance Program at Concordia University in Montreal. She is also a graduate of the Canadian Film Centre’s Actors Conservatory. She has named Hollywood’s golden age movie star Jimmy Stewart as her biggest inspiration and has a tattoo of his silhouette on her arm.

Though Murphy enjoyed living in Montreal, there were scant acting opportunities. After six years in the city, she relocated to Toronto, where her acting career began in earnest. She had moved to Los Angeles by the age of 22.

Career Highlights

Annie Murphy first gained prominence in the CBC comedy web series The Plateaus, which she co-wrote, produced and starred in. The series followed an indie rock band struggling to continue after their lead singer dies in an accident. The show included other Canadian stars such as Jay Baruchel, Elisha Cuthbert and Kevin McDonald (The Kids in the Hall), as well as Canadian musician Sam Roberts. For her performance, Murphy received her first Canadian Screen Award nomination in 2016.


Murphy’s big break came in 2015, when she was cast as Alexis Rose in the CBC sitcom Schitt’s Creek. It went on to become one of the most acclaimed Canadian programs of all time. Murphy drew on personal experiences when portraying Alexis, namely the character’s predisposition to make the best of the situations she finds herself in.

She has credited veteran Canadian comic actors Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara — with whom she co-starred on Schitt’s Creek — as major influences who helped her develop her comedic skills. Murphy was nominated for the Canadian Screen Award for best actress in a television comedy five times from 2016 to 2021 but lost to co-star O’Hara every time.

Murphy won a Primetime Emmy Award for best supporting actress in a comedy in 2020. She was also nominated for a Screen Actors Guild (SAG) award and a Golden Globe in 2021. Murphy and the cast of Schitt’s Creek won a SAG for best ensemble in a comedy series in 2021.

Murphy has also starred in her own sitcom, Kevin can F**k Himself (2021–22). The innovative dark comedy, which blended the stylistic elements of a sitcom with contemporary character-driven dramatic themes, was about a woman trying to change her life despite being married to an insensitive and immature man. Murphy also appeared in the second season of the hit Netflix series Russian Doll, as well as in the premiere episode of Black Mirror’s sixth season, opposite Salma Hayek

Murphy co-starred in Fingernails (2023), a science fiction film starring Riz Ahmed and Jessie Buckley. She was also slated to star in and serve as an executive producer for the comedy film Witness Protection, which will reunite Murphy with Schitt’s Creek writers Rupinder Gill and David West Read.


Awards

  • Actress in a Breakthrough Role (Schitt’s Creek), Gracie Allen Awards (2019)
  • Comedy Supporting Actress (Schitt’s Creek), Gold Derby Awards (2020)
  • Best Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Schitt’s Creek), International Online Cinema Awards (2020)
  • Best Supporting TV Performance – Actress (Schitt’s Creek), Dorian TV Awards (2020)
  • Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Comedy Series (Schitt’s Creek), Primetime Emmy Awards (2020)
  • Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series (Schitt’s Creek), Screen Actors Guild Awards (2021)