Cover photo for Philip Murphy's Obituary
Philip Murphy Profile Photo

Philip Murphy

May 11, 1945 — December 4, 2023

Philip Murphy

May 11, 1945 — December 4, 2023


Palm Desert Lighting Designer & Retired Senior Vice President, Operations, Paramount Pictures Television

Phil Murphy, 78, noted Coachella Valley theatrical lighting designer, passed away peacefully on December 4, 2023, at his Palm Desert home. Phil was surrounded by his loving husband and soul mate of 39 years, Robert McCracken “Bobby”, and their much beloved dog, Duncan IV, Phil’s constant companion.

On May 11, 1945, Phil was born in Chicago, Illinois, the only child of Mary and Edward Murphy. As a young man, he attended Purdue and Indiana Universities. Upon graduation he worked in various positions in the broadcast industry including, as a production manager, television news photographer, on-air reporter, as well as television advertising sales.

As with most things Phil aspired to, he succeeded. The move to California took him to Los Angeles in 1982. It was then, Phil aspired to and became Senior Vice President, of Operations, at Paramount Pictures Television, in Hollywood. In his position as Senior Vice President, he managed and over saw 85 operations specialists, distributing some of America’s favorite television programs nationally and internationally.

After retiring in 2010, he became a permanent resident of Palm Desert and returned to his former love, designing theater stage lighting. In January 2011, Phil joined the Board of Directors of Palm Springs’ Coyote Stageworks. He and his husband became key supporters of the Desert Rose Playhouse with Phil overseeing lighting design. Phil and Robert graciously donated all the main stage technology and lighting to Desert Rose Playhouse and to the Helen Galen Theater, at Rancho Mirage High School. The Desert Theatre League nominated Philip for five lighting designs awards, and he won the professional lighting design category in 2012 and 2013. He was also the lighting designer at Dezart Performs and the International Date Festival Pageant. At the McCallum Theatre, he designed lights for longtime friend, Lucie Arnaz: Latin Roots performance.

Thankful and grateful to Gus and Alma who knew Philip and came in and supported and cared for Philip and the family in his final days making his transition and passing peaceful. Your thoughtfulness, kindness and tenderness will always be remembered.

Phil is survived by his husband Robert “Bobby” McCracken, his children, Mandy and Patrick, grand-daughter Kaitlyn, and his beloved dog, Duncan IV.

Graveside services will be at Forest Lawn, in Cathedral City, on Friday, December 22, 2023, at noon. The family asks those who knew Philip are welcome to attend and to quote Mrs. Mary Murphy, Phil’s adoring mother who never liked to say good-bye, to join us as we bid, a sorrowful yet loving, so long for now, toot-a-leu – we love you!

In lieu of flowers, the family respectfully requests donations to be made in Phil’s memory to the following organizations: The Phil Murphy Technical Theatre Scholarship Fund Shelter Hope Pet Shop Thousand Oaks


Service Schedule

Past Services

Graveside Service of Philip Murphy

Friday, December 22, 2023

12:00 - 12:30 pm (Pacific time)

Forest Lawn - Cathedral City - Ramon Chapel

69855 East Ramon Road, Cathedral City, CA 92234

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