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Riverdale delivers a darker, sexier take on classic Archie Comics characters. And The CW drama launched a ton of up-and-coming stars, including Ashleigh Murray. The actor was among the show’s main cast – alongside KJ Apa, Lili Reinhart, Camila Mendes, and Cole Sprouse – when it first launched. As it turns out, Murray had reached a crossroads prior to landing in Riverdale

Ashleigh Murray plays Josie McCoy on ‘Riverdale’

Just like the comics, Riverdale centers on the quartet that is Archie (Apa), Betty (Reinhart), Veronica (Mendes), and Jughead (Sprouse). But the show has collected an impressive ensemble cast throughout its run. As Josie McCoy, Murray is among its first breakout stars. The character – lead singer of Josie and the Pussycats – was already a fan favorite, of course.

Josie and the Pussycats became a popular animated series in the early 1970s. And the titular band inspired a tongue-in-cheek movie in 2001 starring Rachael Leigh Cook, Tara Reid, and Rosario Dawson, which has since become a cult favorite. As for Riverdale, Murray was a main cast member for the show’s first four seasons and appeared as a special guest in season 5. 

Ashleigh Murray had a wild ride leading up to her big break

riverdale ashleigh murray
Ashleigh Murray attends The 2018 PaleyFest screening of “Riverdale” at the Dolby Theater on March 25, 2018, in Hollywood, California. | Valerie Macon/AFP via Getty Images

In a 2017 interview with Collider, Murray shared just how dire her career was right before she was cast as Josie on Riverdale. Apparently, the actor was $4,700 overdue in her rent payments and considered stepping away from acting for a while. But the opportunity to star in Riverdale arrived at just the right time.

“This was my last audition,” she shared. “So I went on the audition, and the next day, I was on my way home from the grocery store with $12 in my bank account. I had to call my mom and ask her for an extra $5 because the last of it went to food at Whole Foods, just so that I could get home. My manager called me and said, ‘I just got off the phone with your agent, and they’re pinning you for the role.’

Murray explains she didn’t understand the lingo, or how the process worked with Warner Bros. But she earned a ticket out to Los Angeles the same day. And as fans now know, Murray ultimately landed the role. And the rest was history.

What has Ashleigh Murray been doing since leaving ‘Riverdale’?


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Since leaving Riverdale‘s main cast in 2019, Murray has certainly been keeping busy. She reprised the role of Josie McCoy for the short-lived spinoff Katy Keene, which ran just 13 episodes in 2020. And she has landed guest appearances on Alex, Inc. and the rebooted version of Nickelodeon’s Rugrats. Additionally, she popped up in the 2020 Valley Girl remake.

Most recently, Murray played Zenzi Fullerton, cousin and best friend of the titular hero (Tian Richards) on The CW’s Tom Swift. A spin-off of the network’s Nancy Drew, the show debuted in May 2022 and was cancelled after just a single 10-episode season. Murray also appeared in the 2022 film The Way Out.