Murphy is the son of advertising executive Mike Murphy and psychotherapist Susan Wells Wiggins Murphy. He graduated from Mountain Brook High School in 1990 and completed a bachelor of arts in English at Birmingham-Southern College in 1994.
Murphy served as editor-in-chief of the Hilltop News in 1993. The November issue, featuring a special report on breast and testicular cancer, garnered notice from Rupert Murdoch, who offered him an internship at The New York Post. He landed his first feature article in Esquire in 1995 and began working as a special projects assistant at Vanity Fair in December 1996. In 1998 he moved to Forbes as a reporter and also contributed columns to the Andalusia Star-News.
Murphy also appeared in light opera productions with the Blue Hill Troupe in New York City, which specialized in Gilbert and Sullivan productions. Meanwhile, Murphy joined the U.S. Navy Reserve as an ensign in 1999. He accepted the position of executive editor at Southern Living in 2000, overseeing its custom publishing division while also contributing as a travel editor and food critic, and hosting the "Off the Eaten Path" web series. He married fellow Blue Hill Troupe member Amy Taska Campbell at her mother's home in Lloyd Neck, New York in June 2001.
Murphy also cultivated an interest in classic Packard and Cadillac automobiles. He restored and drove a 1955 Cadillac Eldorado and in 2005 located "The Duchess", a custom Cadillac limousine built for Edward, Duke of Windsor in 1941, which he restored and later sold.
In 2007 Murphy joined with his father and sister to found Murphy Media, a communications firm, and completed a master's in business administration at Oxford University's Saïd Business School. After graduating in 2008 he stepped down from Southern Living to launch a startup company, Motorpool LLC, which developed an online social network for classic car collectors. The venture was backed with $1 million in capital from Jemison Investments.
In 2010 Murphy was activated for duty during Operation Enduring Freedom. He was assigned as director of media outreach for the International Security Assistance Force in Kabul, Afghanistan and prepared daily briefings for NATO Commander David Petraeus and other general officers. In November 2012 he was reassigned to the staff of the Chair of the Joint Chiefs of Staff with the rank of Lieutenant Commander.
Murphy, who was divorced in 2010, co-authored a humor book, I Love You– Now Hush with Melinda Rainey Thompson that year. He subsequently collected his "Off the Eaten Path" experiences into a three-volume travelogue and recipe book, and wrote another book about bourbon and bacon, all published by Oxmoor House.
Murphy earned a Joint Professional Military Education degree at the Naval War College in Newport, Rhode Island in 2017. He returned to active duty in Washington D.C. in 2020 as a traveling press secretary for Secretary of Defense Mark Esper. He was promoted to the rank of Captain in 2020 and remained in his position after President Trump dismissed Esper and appointed Christopher Miller as Acting Secretary in November of that year.
- Melinda Rainey Thompson & Morgan Murphy (2010) I Love You– Now Hush. John F. Blair, Publisher ISBN 9780895873781
- Murphy, Morgan (2011) Southern Living Off the Eaten Path. Oxmoor House ISBN 9780848734459
- Murphy, Morgan (2013) Southern Living Off the Eaten Path: Second Helpings. Oxmoor House ISBN 9780848739553
- Murphy, Morgan (2014) Bourbon & Bacon: The Ultimate Guide to the South's Favorite Food Groups. Oxmoor House ISBN ISBN 9780848743161
- Murphy, Morgan (2015) Off the Eaten Path: On the Road Again. Oxmoor House ISBN 9780848744441
- "Weddings; Amy Campbell, Morgan Murphy" (June 10, 2001) The New York Times, section 9, p. 12
- Williams, Roy L. (September 24, 2010) "Entrepreneur profile: Morgan Murphy of Motorpool LLC" The Birmingham News
- Carlton, Bob (June 15, 2011) "Mountain Brook food writer Morgan Murphy ventures 'Off the Eaten Path' in new cookbook" The Birmingham News
- Ferretti, Elena (November 18, 2016) "[https://www.foxnews.com/food-drink/lt-cmdr-morgan-murphy-the-frontline-foodie Lt. Cmdr. Morgan Murphy: The Frontline Foodie'" Fox News