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'Murph the Surf' to Become Murph Inc. and Serve God

November 12, 1986|JAMES MARNELL

--Jewel thief Jack (Murph the Surf) Murphy wouldn't be the first criminal to turn to the straight and narrow path. Murphy, who served time for stealing the 563-carat Star of India sapphire, the Midnight Star sapphire and the DeLong ruby, has decided he will incorporate himself and serve God as a Christian. The 49-year-old former beach bum, who was paroled this week in Orlando, Fla., after serving 16 years of a double life sentence, said he will stay in the Orlando area to start a nondenominational church. One of the life sentences involved the murder of a California secretary; the other involved conspiracy and the attempted robbery of a Miami Beach socialite. "I'll be going on the college lecture circuit to share some of the insights I've gotten in 21 years in jail," said Murphy, who acquired his nickname after winning a surfing championship in Florida in the 1950s and later starting a surfboard company. As to any who may doubt the sincerity of his religious awakening, Murphy said: "I say the same thing that (Watergate figure) Chuck Colson said when he came out of prison--'Just watch me.' "

--The Soviet Union has bestowed a number of honors on Samantha Smith, the 11-year-old Maine schoolgirl who died in a plane crash in 1985, naming a ship, a species of flower and a 14,000-foot mountain after her. Now, the Soviets have gone out of this world for Samantha, naming asteroid No. 3,147 in her honor. The asteroid, discovered by Soviet astronomer Ludmila Chernykh, is between Mars and Jupiter, near an asteroid named for Tanya, a young Soviet girl who was killed in the siege of Leningrad during World War II. "Like Tanya, Samantha lived a short life but shone brightly in it," said Chernykh, who chose the name Samantha for the planet. Samantha gained world renown after she visited the Soviet Union in 1983 at the invitation of then-Soviet leader Yuri Andropov.

--An injury suffered three weeks ago while vacationing in Scotland has hospitalized Queen Mother Elizabeth in London. "She injured her leg while out walking . . . and the wound wouldn't heal," a royal spokesman said. "So, she's gone into (the) hospital for a rest and treatment." It was the second time that the 86-year-old mother of Queen Elizabeth II has been hospitalized this year. The queen mother, known to her subjects as the queen mum, entered a hospital in Scotland three months ago for treatment of a throat spasm.

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