Marilyn Meets Chicago’s “40,000” Murphy // July 9th, 1949


“40,000” Murphy posing with a portion of his collection that he referred to as the Murphy Museum

Chicago has had its share of local celebrities throughout the years – people famous for simply being themselves.


Ronnie Woo-Woo

In my lifetime, it’s Ronnie Woo-Woo. A Cubs fixture (and my neighbor!) who dresses in a full uniform and has attended every game possible since the 1950’s. I once stood at a crosswalk with him and he nodded to me – I was extremely starstruck. He also told my partner (pointing to our front tree): “This tree needs trimming” he was correct – we got it trimmed.

Joe “40,000” Murphy was the Ronnie Woo-Woo of Chicago sports events in the 1940’s.

Murphy was an usher at many baseball games at Comiskey and Wrigley Field, along with events at Soldier Field. He, like Ronnie, wore a uniform that was immediately recognizable.

In his own words: \”Me, Murph, I knew \’em all. All the big shots, the sporting greats, the big city pols, the movie stars, and even a few presidents,\” he said in a 1973 Chicago Tribune profile.

Murph was written up by the Chicago Tribune a few times for his impressive collection of photos with celebrities. His collection spanned decades, including Roy Rogers, Louis Armstrong, Jayne Mansfield, Sammy Davis Jr., Frank Sinatra, and Marilyn Monroe (plus so many others).


Marilyn posing with Joe “40,000” Murphy at the Movie Star World Series on July 9th, 1949 at Wrigley Field.

On July 9th, 1949, Marilyn served as a bat girl for the Movie Star World Series at Wrigley Field. Many stars were in attendance – including “40,000” Murphy who poses with young Marilyn in the above photo. In a 1973 interview, he said she squeezed his hand before taking this photo. On the back of his copy of it, he wrote “My Marilyn Monroe”.

40,000 Murphy passed away in 1979. Parts of his massive collection have been found at various Chicago antique stores. I’ll be keeping an eye out!