The Murdaugh family name has been in the headlines for months, ever since the brutal killings of Maggie and Paul Murdaugh, the wife and son of prominent South Carolina lawyer Alex Murdaugh, in June 2021. Since then, a series of scandals and revelations have exposed Alex Murdaugh’s involvement in various crimes, including embezzlement, fraud, and murder. He is currently facing over 70 charges and a life sentence in prison.
But who is Alex Murdaugh, and where does he come from? Is he related to Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-American media mogul and billionaire who owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, and The Sun? And what about Rupert Murdaugh, a former US senator from South Carolina who served from 1941 to 1942?
The Murdaugh Family Legacy
Alex Murdaugh is the heir of a legal dynasty that has dominated the Lowcountry region of South Carolina for more than a century. His great-grandfather, Randolph “Buster” Murdaugh, was elected as the chief prosecutor for the state’s 14th Judicial Circuit in 1920 and served until his death in 1940. His son, Randolph Jr., then took over the position and served until his retirement in 1986. His son, Randolph III, then became the prosecutor in 1987 and served until 2005.
The Murdaughs also founded a private law firm, Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth & Detrick (PMPED), which specialized in personal injury cases and made them rich. Alex Murdaugh was a partner at the firm until he resigned in September 2021 amid allegations that he had stolen millions of dollars from the firm and its clients.
The Murdaughs were known for their power and influence in the Lowcountry, where they had connections with law enforcement, judges, politicians, and business leaders. They were also known for their lavish lifestyle, owning several properties, boats, cars, and planes.
The Murdoch Family Empire
Rupert Murdoch is one of the most powerful and influential media tycoons in the world. He was born in Australia in 1931 and inherited his father’s newspaper business at the age of 21. He expanded his empire by acquiring newspapers, magazines, television stations, film studios, and online platforms in Australia, Britain, America, and other countries. He is the founder and executive chairman of News Corp, which owns Fox News, The Wall Street Journal, The New York Post, The Times of London, The Sun, HarperCollins Publishers, and many other media outlets.
Murdoch is also the chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation, which owns Fox Broadcasting Company, Fox Sports, Fox News Media, Fox Entertainment, Tubi TV, and other assets. He has a net worth of $23.2 billion as of February 2022.
Murdoch has been married four times and has six children. His eldest son Lachlan Murdoch is the co-chairman of News Corp and the executive chairman and CEO of Fox Corporation. His second son James Murdoch was the CEO of 21st Century Fox until it was sold to Disney in 2019. He is now the founder and CEO of Lupa Systems, a private investment company. His other children are Prudence MacLeod (from his first marriage), Elisabeth Murdoch (from his second marriage), Grace Murdoch (from his third marriage), and Chloe Murdoch (from his third marriage).
The Murdaugh-Murdoch Connection
Despite their similar-sounding surnames (which are spelled differently), there is no evidence that Alex Murdaugh and Rupert Murdoch are related in any way. They have different origins (Murdoch is Australian-American while Murdaugh is American), different professions (Murdoch is a media mogul while Murdaugh is a lawyer), and different family trees.
The same goes for Rupert Murdaugh (sometimes spelled as Murdoch), who was a US senator from South Carolina from 1941 to 1942. He was born in Hampton County in 1885 and was a lawyer before entering politics. He was elected to the state senate in 1918 and served as its president pro tempore from 1933 to 1941. He was appointed to fill a vacancy in the US Senate in 1941 but lost the election for a full term in 1942. He died in 1959.
Rupert Murdaugh was not related to Alex Murdaugh or his ancestors either. He belonged to a different branch of the Murdaugh family that traced its roots to John Mordaunt (later changed to Murdaugh), who immigrated from England to South Carolina in the late 1600s. Alex Murdaugh’s ancestors came from Ireland in the early 1700s and settled in Colleton County.
The Murdaugh-Murdoch Mystery
The Murdaugh-Murdoch mystery is a case of coincidence and confusion. The two families have nothing to do with each other, except for sharing a common surname that has different spellings and pronunciations. The Murdaugh family name has been tarnished by the crimes and scandals of Alex Murdaugh, while the Murdoch family name has been associated with media power and wealth. The truth behind the mystery is that there is no mystery at all.