Mary Murphy was born in Queens, New York and has spent her entire broadcasting career in her hometown, where she’s covered nearly every major story of the last 30 years. She is known for her aggressive pursuit of the facts, along with her ability to connect with her interview subjects.
She has broken big stories for PIX11 in the last year, including the pipe bombing beneath the Port Authority Bus Terminal and the 2017 Halloween truck attack on bicyclists in lower Manhattan. Mary was the first to report it was an act of terror, talking to her extensive law enforcement contacts while PIX11 reporters and photographers were first at the scene.
The same was true during the mass shooting at Bronx Lebanon Hospital in June 2017, when Mary reported first the shooter, a former medical resident, had three previous arrests, including one for sexual harassment.
During her time at PIX11, Mary has anchored coverage of the 9/11 terror attacks, traveled town to town during Superstorm Sandy, and did live coverage from Vatican City, when Pope Francis was elected in 2013. That’s the same year that Mary launched her “Mary Murphy Mystery” segment, which looks at unsolved crimes and missing persons cases. She’s also a member of the PIX11 Investigates unit. Her work in television journalism has been honored with 25 Emmy awards, along with an Edward R. Murrow for writing, and many, first-place prizes from the Associated Press Broadcasters’ Association. She won her most recent Emmy for a six-part series called “Heroin, A to Z.”
Mary is the daughter of Irish immigrants; her mother, Mary, is from County Galway and her late father, James, hailed from County Mayo. Her parents met in Rockaway Beach and initially settled in Woodside. Mary’s father was a New York City bus driver. Mary graduated from Queens College, Magna Cum Laude, and was selected for an internship with WCBS TV in the 1980’s. That was Mary’s entry into the news business, and she never looked back.
Mary has worked at PIX11 during two, different phases of her career. She spent five years here in the 1980’s, working her way up from production assistant to reporter.
During this initial phase at PIX11, Mary produced some of the first, local TV stories on the AIDS crisis and was out on the streets covering the violence associated with the crack cocaine epidemic.
In 1986, CBS 2 hired Mary as a general assignment correspondent. She covered breaking news there for seven years, including months of coverage associated with the assassination of NYPD Officer, Edward Byrne. Mary was the first, New York television reporter to air the confession tapes of the suspects. She reported live during the truck bombing of One World Trade Center in 1993. She won Emmy awards at CBS 2 for reporting on the John Gotti and Joel Steinberg trials.
Mary returned to PIX11 in 1993, where she was given opportunities to anchor, produce documentaries, and continue to break stories. In 1994, she interviewed the real people behind the Oscar-winning film, “Schindler’s List.” The project was honored with a national award from the American Women in Radio and Television.
In 1995, while six months pregnant, Mary covered the visit of Pope John Paul II (now a saint!) to New Jersey and New York. John Paul tapped Mary’s PIX 11 microphone, when she asked him a question, and that’s a special memory. She covered his Mass at Giants Stadium in the pouring rain!
In 1996, Mary responded to the crash of TWA Flight 800, off Center Moriches, Long Island. 230 passengers and crew members bound for Paris from JFK perished. For years, there was intense debate about the cause. In July 2001, Mary was the lead reporter on the Emmy-winning newscast that marked the fifth anniversary of the disaster.
In 2006, shortly before the fifth anniversary of 9/11, Mary visited a field in County Cork, Ireland, where a New York-based nurse had planted 343 trees in honor of the firefighters who gave their lives responding to the Sept. 11 terror attacks.
On Sunday, May 1, 2011, Mary was in her pajamas on a Sunday night, when she received an email that President Obama was going to announce the death of the “Most Wanted” terrorist in the world, Osama bin Laden. Mary quickly changed, went into work, and landed on the lawn of retired firefighter, Bob Beckwith, at 4:30 a.m. Beckwith had stood with then-President George W. Bush on top of a demolished fire truck, three days after 9/11, when the president declared the terrorists who knocked down the towers would be hearing from the United States very soon. Weeks later, our War on Terror was launched in Afghanistan.
In early 2012, Mary traveled to Rome with Dan Mannarino to cover the elevation of New York’s Archbishop, Timothy Michael Dolan, to Cardinal. They worked many long hours, but it was an incredible venue to be working from.
Never in their wildest dreams did Mary think they’d be returning to Rome the next year, 2013, when Pope Benedict XVI surprisingly resigned — and a new leader of the Catholic Church was about to be selected. Mary and Dan were in St. Peter’s Square on March 13, 2013, when the white smoke signaled that a new Pope had been elected in the Sistine Chapel. That was Francis.
In November 2014, Mary produced a six-part series called “Heroin, A to Z” that looked at the explosion of heroin use — and fatalities — among young people in the middle class. At one point, she reunited a Suffolk County police officer with a 21-year-old woman he had saved from overdose twice in the same month. The woman was then clean a year and working full time.
The Drug Enforcement Administration has written a letter of commendation to Mary for nearly a decade of reporting on the opioid crisis, and the Suffolk County Emergency Services Division uses some of her reports in training.
Mary was thrilled on Jan. 25, 2015, when she received an email about one of her Mystery segments from the year before. The email led to an emotionally powerful reunion between a biological mother — and the child she had left behind in Brooklyn 38 years before.
Outside of work, Mary’s passions are movies — and tennis. She plays ladies’ doubles, and her community team won four first-place championships during the time Mary played with them.
Mary is grateful for the opportunities journalism has brought her to see the world. And she identifies with so many people who, like her, came from ordinary backgrounds — but witnessed extraordinary things.