Murray was born in Pittsburgh but raised in Texas to a mechanic, Fredrick Abraham, and a home-maker, Josephine. His father migrated from Syria during the famine period in the 1920s. His mother had an Italian-American background. To honour his father, Fredrick, Abraham added an ‘’F’’ to his screen name. He began working the film industry from 1971 and his first film was a comedy called They Might Be Giants. He had a continuous workflow of acting parts and voice-over jobs in commercials and other gigs. He also did television roles in an episode of Kojak in 1973 along with an unaccredited role in the movie Serpico.
He also had several small roles in movies like All President’s Men, The Sunshine Boys, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, The Big Fix, etc. He took a break from these small roles from 1978 till 1983 because he was frustrated with the lack of substantial roles. He was disappointed with the response he was getting and he felt like his acting skills were not being appreciated enough. During this phase, he became a house-husband while his wife Kate Hannan took up a job to support their household. Although this change contradicted with the macho ideology, he felt great for it to have happened.
In 1983, he returned to doing movies with a film called Scarface and to voice-overs by giving his voice to the Fruit of the Loom commercials. He gained true appreciation in the year 1984 when he won an Academy Award along with a Golden Globe Award for his role in the movie called Amadeus. That role is still considered iconic but the winning of the Oscar award was considered to have jinxed his career. The gossip was so far spread that many called the situation of facing a failure after an early success the F. Murray Abraham Syndrome. After the Oscar-winning performance, he was seen in a few more highlighted roles like in Mighty Aphrodite by
Star Trek: Insurrection and Finding Forrester.
He also had an unaccredited role in The Bonfire of the Vanities due to some contract issues. Major changes were seen in his career since 2009 when he first appeared on Saving Grace as a guest and then later on Law & Order: Criminal Intent, The Good Wife and Louie. He was also the narrator on the show Nature and narrated around 33 episodes. The highlight of his TV career was when he was nominated for an Emmy Award in 2015 for his role as a black ops specialist in Homeland. Recently he has done movies like
Inside Llewyn Davis and The Grand Budapest Hotel. He has two children from his first marriage along with a grandchild.