Surfing Champion, musician, author, artist, Evangelist.
Jack Murphy gained notoriety in 1964 for committing what has been called the “Jewel Robbery of the Century,” lifting more than $2 million in gems from the J.P. Morgan collection in New York City’s American Museum of Natural History. Actor Don Stroud immortalized Jack, known as “Murf the Surf”, in the movie of the same name—a film that highlighted his daring jewel heist.
Murf served 21 years in prison in New York and Florida state prisons for the jewel heist and other serious crimes.
In 1974, while incarcerated in Florida State Prison, Murf met Bill Glass, former All Pro for the Cleveland Browns and founder of Champions for Life, and Dallas Cowboy SuperBowl Quarterback Roger Staubach. It was that experience and a decision to follow Christ that changed Murf’s life for eternity.
Upon his release from prison in 1985, Murf soon returned to prison—this time as a featured platform guest, speaking to inmates about his 21 years behind bars and boldly proclaiming the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In addition to Champions for Life, he has been a featured guest and speaker for International Prison Ministries, Coalition of Prison Evangelists (COPE), Time for Freedom, KAIROS, and Good News Jail and Prison Ministry. Jack has spoken in over 2,000 prisons around the world.
Reflecting on the incredible work Murf has accomplished in prisons around the world, his “life-time parole” was completely terminated in 2000.
Murf was the keynote speaker in Jerusalem during the First World Conference on Crime Prevention and Recidivism through Religion. A regular on Christian TV and radio programs, Murf has also been a featured guest on CNN’s Larry King Live.
Murf is an accomplished painter and musician and won two Hollywood Angel Awards in Evangelism, one for his book Jewels for the Journey, the other for a TV documentary he directed entitled “San Quentin Homecoming Reunion.”
In 1997, for his lifetime achievement in the sport, he was inducted into the Surfing Legends Hall of Fame.