Murphy has worked in over 100 television productions, the highlight of which was the Robert Altman - Gary Trudeau cult series Tanner '88 in which he played the title role. It was followed in 2004 by the mini series Tanner on Tanner. He also appeared with Cicely Tyson in the classic Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, which won nine Emmy Awards.
A partial list of Murphy's credits include Silver City directed by John Sayles, Heights directed by James Ivory, Magnolia (SAG nomination for Best Ensemble), Kansas City, Batman Returns, Salvador, The Year of Living Dangerously, Manhattan, The Front, An Unmarried Woman, Nashville, What's Up Doc?, Brewster McCloud and M*A*S*H*.
For years Murphy lived in New York, and worked in many theatrical productions in and around the city. He recently starred in Jon Robin Baitz's Three Hotels, at the Magic Theatre in San Francisco.
Over the last couple of years, Murphy has turned his attention to the independent arena, where he recently completed three films including Three Janes, by Jim and Iris Klein, Tart, by Christina Wayne, and Norma Jean, Jack & Me, by Cyrus Nowrasteh. Murphy and Nowrasteh recently reunited for the Paramount/Showtime The Day Regan Was Shot, also starring Richard Dreyfus.
Additionally, Murphy has been busy narrating some highly acclaimed programs for PBS including Long Journey Home: The Irish in America, The Last Stand of Tallgrass Prairie, and the forthcoming Mount Rushmore. He has also committed many well-known novels to tape including the Nero Wolfe series. With co-writer David Fineman, Murphy recently completed an original screenplay entitled Crashing, and it appears to be making big waves in Hollywood.
Since his recent move to Canada, Murphy has worked on the series This Is Wonderland for which he was awarded a 2004 Gemini award for Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Supporting Role in a Dramatic Series, and a second award in 2005. He had a recurring role on The Eleventh Hour, the critically acclaimed series for CTV, as well as leading roles in the the CBC MOW Footsteps and In The Dark for Shaftesbury Films. He had recurring role on the series Tilt for ESPN. Michael recently completed work on The Untitled ABC History Project directed by David Cunningham and the feature film XMEN3. He can currently be seen Sarah Polley's highly acclaimed feature film Away From Her.