|This article is about Big Bill Murphy. You may be looking for his grandson.|
I'm gonna put you down that fucking well!
|—The origin of Frank's well-known threat|
William Francis "Big Bill" Murphy is the overall overarching antagonist in 'F is for Family,' serving as the unseen overarching antagonist in the first, second and third season, the main antagonist in the fourth season of F is for Family and the posthumous overarching antagonist in the fifth and final season. He is the abusive father of Frank Murphy, which he beat up.
He was voiced by Jonathan Banks.
William "Big Bill" Murphy was born on March 14, 1901, in Chinaman’s Ferry. It's most likely William was abused by his father, hence starting a chain of abuse throughout the Murphy family tree. He attended St. Mary Of The Vapors Catholic School for his primary education, and graduated from Rustland City Central High School in 1920. His first job was being a regional salesman for a hardware store called Dilson-Johnson’s Paint of Ryetown, and became the best salesman there.
By the late 1920s, William founded his own hardware store called Murphy's Hardware following his graduation from business school. His success soon led to him becoming the talk of the town, being named "Big Bill" Murphy, and soon became best friends with his co-workers, Richard “Dick”Sawitzki and Ben Schrider.
Between the late 1920s to early 1930s, William met and eventually married Nora Murphy. He had given her an Ashtray (which he stole from the Hotel Coral Springs and Sara Sota) as a Honeymoon present. On January 7, 1935, Nora gave birth to their son, Francis Xavier Murphy. However, William mentions that upon Nora's water breaking, he threw her into a taxi while he went into a bar. Six days later, Nora picked him up and William "took her word for it" that she brought home the right kid. In 1939, Nora gave birth to their second child, Eileen Murphy.
Despite his warm and charming nature to the public, behind closed doors, William was a bitter and abusive alcoholic to his family, especially to Frank. In 1941, when Pearl Harbor occurred, William forced Frank to wear a Hawaiian grass skirt and coconut bra after he began crying over the tragedy, though William claimed it "just a joke". In 1944, after Frank accidentally spilled juice at the dinner table, William called him a "goddamn dope" and slammed the ice cream Frank was holding in his face. That same year, Frank starred in his school's fourth-grade play as Mr. Carrot. Frank asked William if he could attend, and was shocked that he agreed by closing the store and "even letting [Nora] out of the house". However, upon the night of the play, when Frank got on stage, William began heckling him for wasting his time and laughing at his costume. Frank's anxiety and nervousness caused him to forget his lines, which led to the rest of the audience (including his own teacher playing the piano by the stage) to laugh alongside William. Afterwards, William berated him for embarrassing the family name. Nora attempted to intervene and asked William to take it easy on Frank, William told her to shut up, saying she's the reason their son is so soft. Due to Frank crying, William punished him by forcing him to walk home in his carrot costume while honking the horn and yelling, "Who wants a daughter? I thought I had a son!", reasoning that there was "no room in DeSotos for sissies who act in plays". Over the course of the next year, William began referring to Frank as "Francine".
In 1952, the hardware shop began to suffer when William invested in crutches and iron lungs during the polio epidemic, only for the polio vaccine to arrive. By December of that year, William began to drink harder as a result of the bills piling up. One night, William began beating Frank with a crutch when Frank said that he was glad polio got cured. Nora, enraged, told William to get away from him and yanked the crutch out of William's grip. This caused William to lose his balance and trip over a plane on the floor, falling against the dresser and knocking a lamp over. Realizing he has lost his family's respect, William was truly at rock bottom.
By 1956, William and Nora divorced. Nora and Eileen relocated to California while Frank enrolled in Flight School to become a pilot. Leaving with a suitcase, the last words William said to his son while scoffing was, "Reserves."
He and Frank were estranged for over 2 decades, until he showed up at Frank’s House to stay with them, much to Frank’s chagrin. But, to Frank’s surprise and suspicion, William was being much nicer and more tolerant to Frank and his family. William is welcomed into the Murphy family by everyone but Frank. He helps build the new baby’s room with Frank, does the dishes with Sue, remembers Bill‘s 12th birthday (something that Frank felt embarrassed that he didn't), and told Kevin that he has a future. He and the kids (and Major) love to play ”choo-choo train”. He also becomes friends with the neighbors in the cul-de-sac as well. He needs a place to stay while scouting locations for the typewriter ribbon and adding machine paper company he works for, so Goomer and Evelyn let him stay in Goomer's Trailer, right next to Frank's House. All six of them go to Sam's Starving Boy for lunch. Frank is already in a bad mood, which leads to him yelling at his son Bill when he spills a glass of root beer. William tells Frank he’s overreacting, and Frank angrily reminds William of the time William screamed at him for spilling some grape juice. William, however, denies that this event ever happened, so Frank starts berating at William for being a hypocrite. Frank’s kids are obviously distressed, to the point where Kevin screamed: “STOP YELLING AT THE CHOO-CHOO MAN!!” through the entire restaurant.
Throughout season four, Kevin, Bill, and Maureen become closer with William, Bill in particular. At “back to school” night at Alfred P. Southwick Elementary School, Frank encounters the theater teacher, who was the theater teacher back when Frank was in the play, in the 1944-45 class. The theater teacher claims that William was “so nice and supportive“ of Frank being in a play, which caused Frank's anger and then confusion, wondering if he remembered the event wrong. Both Bill and Maureen, embarrassed, tell Frank that William is much nicer to them than he is, which leads to Frank volunteering to be both the “assistant coach” (ass cock) of the Hockey Team (which is what Bill’s on), and the assistant director of the 4th-grade play (which is what Maureen’s in).
At first, Bill and Maureen are happy that Frank is showing interest in their school, but then disappointed that Frank only did it as a slight to his dad, and not because he actually cares. Bill gets even closer with William when William comes to his first hockey game. Bill hits his face in the beginning, so William takes Bill home and the two do a puzzle in William’s trailer.
The next week, William offers to take Bill to lunch and then his hockey game. Bill agrees and the two leave. While on the way, William meets up with his old friends from the 1940s and 1950s. While there, Bill starts to ask William to leave, which leads to William yelling at him. Bill, backing away from William, knocks over a rack of baseball bats and William gets angry, cocks his hand back, and threatens to “drop him down that fucking well”, to which all of William’s friends were shocked. William feels bad about this incident, so he leaves to take Bill to his game, and buys him a new pair of skates. Affected by this event, Bill goes with Jimmy and his dad, leaving the skates in William’s car. William drives home and watches TV with Frank. Frank gets a call that he needs to go to the airport, and William goes with him.
After they’re done at Mohican, they share a moment on an overpass, where William finally gives Frank a hug, and Frank becomes a much nicer and more warm person. This short-lived friendship ends however when they get into an argument at Maureen’s play, where Frank brings up his play incident in 1944-45, and William, yet again, denies it. This leads to a big argument in the auditorium, ending with Frank sucker-punching William across the face, and William falling down. William is fine, but his relationship with Frank is worse than ever.
He eventually gets drunk and goes to Frank’s house with a tire iron, wanting to beat him with it. Bill and Maureen, however, inform William that Sue is in labor, and he drives them to the hospital. William doesn’t go to see Sue, but instead goes to the hospital chapel, and begs for forgiveness for being a horrible father to Frank. He then apologizes to Frank for everything he did to him. Frank forgives him and the two hug again. After Frank’s newborn daughter is born, he goes to introduce her to William, still in the chapel. Frank calls William a “helluva guy”, but William seems unresponsive. Then, he says “oh here we go...” and grabs his left arm as he slumps over, as if having a stroke or heart attack. Frank frantically screams “Dad!” and The 4th Season Ends.
William passes away shortly after he slumps over (a cardiac arrest caused by an aneurysm, as stated on his newspaper obituary) despite the doctors' attempts to revive him, his last words to Frank being, "bach's 16" which Frank would obsess over the mean behind those words while believing he said "box 16" for nearly two months before finally leaving behind the trauma that has haunted him for so long.
In 1974, William is 73-Years-Old (as stated by Frank), and has grey hair with some lighter spots. He shares his son’s same balding spot in the back of his head. He is a tall broad man in the flashbacks as 6’1” but his shorter stature, and somewhat stocky build, standing 5 feet 5 inches tall, some 6 inches shorter than Frank. Although, most likely because of his build, he seemed taller as a younger man, although it's possible Frank simply remembers his father as being taller than he really was. From his son's childhood through the 1940's, he had reddish-brown, if not auburn hair. He started greying in the 1950's. He shares very similar facial features to his son. Even though he’s in his 70’s, he does seem fairly wrinkled, which may be due to his constant pipe-smoking and drinking. He appears to suffer from rhinophyma as well, a common condition among aging white males.
As a father, he was arrogant, bigoted, thuggish, and spoiled as he relentlessly bullied and abused Frank, which caused Frank to resent him greatly as an adult. Although he seems to be nicer as an old man because he is spoiled, cowardly, and extremely manipulative, three traits he passed down to his granddaughter Maureen, but he still keeps his rough and abusive personality and isn't afraid to express his anger when deeply provoked, similar to his son. Though by The Season 4 finale, William is truly sorry for being such a horrible father to Frank. He's one of the smarter old people in the series.
William: You know, you should smile more.
|—s4 ep4 The ‘B’ Word|
It's been stated several times in the series that Frank hates his father. As seen in the teaser trailer, William is shown to be an abusive father towards Frank, both emotionally and physically. He is shown hitting Frank with a crutch, slamming Frank’s face into his ice cream, and publicly humiliating Frank by forcing him to walk home in a carrot costume while William and his wife Nora Murphy slowly trail him in the car, while William calls him a “girl” and “daughter” through a megaphone. Although, when he comes to stay with the Murphy’s as an elderly man, he seems to be much more tolerant and nice to Frank, causing Frank much suspicion. Though its possible William is trying to apologize to his son for being so abusive to him as a child but Frank doesn't want to hear it saying William should 'walk off a fucking cliff'. One of the only times we hear Frank talk about his father, besides in "Frank The Father" in Season 3, is when he is listening to the radio in his car, and hears a report about Lee Harvey Oswald’s father abusing him, to which Frank says “Hahaha, my father was an asshole, too!”. Frank still has issues over William's teasing, which he believes is Frank being "too sensitive".
Nora Murphy - Nora seems to be somewhat subservient to him, and unwilling or afraid to speak up. She clearly Doesn’t Like it When He abuses Frank. Seeing How William is so Abusive towards Frank during his childhood, It is possible that he is somewhat abusive (probably more verbally or emotionally) towards her. She finally divorced him because she couldn’t take him abusing Frank anymore because of his own failures. In the present, William refers to her as a whiny bitch who turned on the waterworks when things got tough.
Eileen Murphy - Not much, if anything, is known about William’s relationship with his daughter Eileen, Although, Based on his relationship with Frank, He most likely wasn’t that good of a father to her and was also abusive towards her too and shamed her for being like her Mother. But, kind of like Frank with Maureen, he probably treated her better than Frank. Then again Eileen never attended her father's funeral and didn't really seem fazed by his death and judging by Big Bill's misogynistic views his relationship with his daughter was probably also bad and abusive.
Kevin, Bill, & Maureen Murphy - Frank’s children, Kevin, Bill, and Maureen, have very little knowledge about their grandfather. Kevin knows the most out of the three, though. When Kevin was 4 years old and asked Frank about William, Frank told him that William lived on a comet, not wanting Kevin to have anything to do with William. Although, in the penultimate episode of Season 3, Frank finally opened up to Kevin and told him about the time that he was in the fifth-grade play, and Frank thought William got off work to see him, but in truth, William came to see Frank to publicly mock and belittle him in front of the entire audience. This caused Frank to get distracted and forget his lines, which was met with laughter and belittlement from William and the audience. After the play, the carrot costume incident happened, explained in Frank’s relationship with William section. Frank then tells Kevin that William called him “Francine” for the rest of the year. Frank tells Kevin that it breaks his heart when Kevin looks at him the same way Frank looked at his own father. Frank has never really mentioned his father to Bill or Maureen, so we can assume that they know nothing about him, other than hearing Frank call him an “asshole”. By the fourth season, the kids seem to get along with their grandfather and admire him, though Bill's perception is altered when William yells at him the same way he did to Frank.
Sue Murphy - Nothing much is known about Sue’s relationship with William. We can assume that she has heard Frank voice his hatred of him, but since Frank hasn't talked to his father since he was 18 years old (21 years before Season 3), we know that Sue had never before met William.
Christ! Would it kill you to give me an "attaboy"?!
|—William to his wife back in Frank's childhood|
|—William's last words to his son before Frank leaves for Korea.|
Good to see you, son.
|—William Murphy, Father Confessor.|
You know, you should smile more.
|—William Murphy, The "B" Word.|
•“Women are the devil! Don’t ever touch yourself! Now quit bugging me, and hand me that fucking monkey wrench before I hit you with it!”.
Anybody want a daughter? I thought I had a son!
|—William Murphy, Father Confessor.|
- He would have been 120 years old if he was still alive today in 2021.
- When he was younger (around Frank’s age), he had reddish hair, a bit darker than his grandson Bill’s.
- As an elderly man, he is shown to be quite a bit shorter in height than Frank, who is about 6' tall.
- One of Frank’s biggest fears is turning out like his father. This, ironically, becomes somewhat true.
- He is voiced by Jonathan Banks. He previously acted on AMC’s Breaking Bad, alongside Bill Burr the creator of F is for Family, who also voices his son, Frank.
- As a father, he is shown to have an all-around stockier build than Frank, looking shorter and heavier.
- As an adult, he drove a blue 1946 DeSoto.
- He previously lived in Tulsa, Oklahoma.
- His grandson, Bill Murphy, was named after him, but Frank says this was because it was Sue's turn to pick names.