Annie Murphy has gotten universal praise for her role as Alexis Rose on Schitt’s Creek. But life for the actress wasn’t always so rosy, as she recently revealed on The Kelly Clarkson Show.
Murphy recalled a turbulent period of personal loss, poor job prospects, and poverty that led to her almost quitting acting for good. She said,
“Just before Schitt’s Creek, things were quite bleak. My house had just burned down. I had, like, $3 in my bank account. I hadn’t worked in close to two years, and I had just blown my very first screen test.”
Thankfully, she and her husband were out of town when the fire occurred. In a previous interview with Fashion Magazine, Murphy said that while stressful, the fire helped her realize the impermanence of things, and how they “can be replaced in one way or another.”
“That said, my biggest heartbreak was losing my teddy bear named Worthington that had been my buddy since I was born. We’d seen some shit together, so he was a tough one to lose.”
She told Clarkson the pressure of it erupted into a good long cry over the Pacific Ocean, where Murphy almost made what would have been a life-changing decision.
“The universe was like, ‘Don’t do this anymore. This is not for you.'”
On the verge of throwing away her career, fate intervened, and two days later she received the call to audition for the role of Alexis. It was a transformative moment for Murphy, one that made her recognize the importance of bearing your struggles.
“I realized that there’s always a light at the end of the tunnel; you just don’t quite know when you’ll be bathed in it.”
Now, with Schitt’s Creek in its sixth and final season, Murphy will be starting over again, this time with the wealth of wisdom and invaluable experience that comes with spending six years on a set in the proximity of Eugene Levy and Catherine O’Hara. She acknowledged her admiration for both actors, as well as her desire to learn from them and one day, develop a similar breadth and depth of talent and humility.
Murphy asserted that working with Levy and O’Hara “was a schooling every single day from two of the best comedic actors in the world.”
“I hope that I took something away with me through osmosis. They’ve been working together for 45 years, and they’re absolute professionals, but they have so much fun — they’re so playful and so kind to everybody and so respectful of everybody.”
For her part, O’Hara, who plays Murphy’s mother, has given the actress only the highest of praise. She commended her for her quick wit and bright sense of humor, noting that Murphy’s effervescent personality has been key in effectively bringing Alexis to life on the screen.
In the meantime, Murphy is searching for what’s next, but also enjoying the freedom she’s afforded by reading vociferously and potentially launching her own writing project, something she that surmised may develop into a play or show of her own.
Clarkson rightly commended Murphy for sharing her story and mentioned that what she endured is not unlike the moments of doubt that most people encounter in their lives.
Murphy’s openness in discussing her former hardships demonstrates that beyond the glamour of a thriving career is the very real struggle that many aspiring actors confront in their journey to success. Her story is also an uplifting tale of perseverance in the face of unceasing strife that reminds us that if we press on, our reprieve is often right around the corner.