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Viva (Merle) Murphy; Operated Pony Ride on Westside

September 14, 1993

Viva (Merle) Murphy, 83, who, with her husband and later her son, operated Beverly Ponyland at Beverly and La Cienega boulevards from the 1940s through the 1970s. She began the pony rides, which attracted tens of thousands of children, with the Shetland and Welsh ponies she and her husband began raising after they moved to Los Angeles from Oklahoma in the Depression. In 1978, she was forced off the land by the construction of Beverly Center and moved to Angels Camp, where she died Sept. 1 of a pulmonary aneurysm.

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