Rex Murphy was born and raised near St. John’s, Newfoundland, where he graduated from Memorial University. In l968, he went to Oxford University as a Rhodes Scholar. Afterwards, returning to Newfoundland, he soon established himself as a quick-witted and accomplished writer, broadcaster and teacher.
Rex Murphy’s primary interest is in language and English literature, but he also has a strong link with politics. He was noted throughout Newfoundland for his biting comments on the political scene, and his nightly television tussles on the supper hour show Here and Now with prominent politicians, including Premier Joey Smallwood, became required viewing for a huge audience.
Rex Murphy gained an insider’s view of the political scene when he worked as executive assistant to the leader of the Liberal Party of Newfoundland. To get an even closer taste of politics, he ran twice for office in provincial elections — once as a Liberal, once as a Tory — and lost both times.
As well as host of Cross Country Checkup, Rex Murphy contributes weekly TV commentaries on diverse topics to CBC TV’s The National. At The National’s website there are videos of Rex’s TV commentaries.
He also writes book reviews, commentaries, and a weekly column for the National Post. A collection of his columns, reviews and commentaries has been published in two books: Points of View and Canada And Other Matters of Opinion
Over the years he has worked extensively with CBC and he has contributed many items on current affairs issues. For The National he has done many documentaries, including the highly acclaimed Unpeopled Shores, about the tragedy of the disappearing cod, and pieces on writer Annie Proulx, the Second World War, scientist Hubert Reeves, business tycoon Conrad Black, and William Shakespeare.
He is much in demand as a speaker. His oratory — a volatile mix of insight, humour and biting political commentary, powered by an extraordinary vocabulary — brings audiences to their feet at events from coast to coast.
Rex Murphy has won several national and provincial broadcasting awards and has been awarded honorary doctorates in letters by Memorial University, St. Thomas University, and Nipissing University, and an honorary doctorate in laws by the University of Waterloo.