Murdoch was born in Waxahachie, Texas. A second-generation wrestler, the stepson of 1950s Texas wrestler Frankie Hill Murdoch, he grew up with fellow second-generation wrestlers Dory Funk Jr. and Terry Funk, watching their fathers wrestle all around Texas. Frank Murdoch held the NWA Southwest Junior Heavyweight Championship three times in his career. Dick attended Caprock High School, where he took part in amateur wrestling. 
Professional wrestling career
Murdoch started wrestling in 1965 as "Ron Carson" in a tag team with Don Carson. He soon started wrestling under his real name. In 1968, he formed a tag team that would continue throughout the early 1970s with Dusty Rhodes called The Texas Outlaws. After splitting with Rhodes, he wrestled for several territories within the National Wrestling Alliance, most famously Florida Championship Wrestling and also wrestled in Mid-South Wrestling.
Murdoch's most noted work as a wrestler came in Mid-South Wrestling in the early 1980s, where he teamed with Junkyard Dog. The pair was the most popular champions in the region, attracting the hardcore, working class white fans with his "Captain Redneck" persona and JYD drawing the support of the black fan base. Their feud with the Fabulous Freebirds was perhaps Mid-South's most compelling storyline.
In 1984, Murdoch went to the World Wrestling Federation and formed a tag team with Adrian Adonis that captured the World Tag Team Titles. He left the WWF in 1985 after dropping the tag-team title to The U.S. Express and wrestled in Mid-South Wrestling briefly before turning up in the NWA's Jim Crockett Promotions in 1986. He feuded with Ric Flair and attempted to win Flair's NWA World Title.
In early 1987, Murdoch joined Ivan Koloff and Vladimir Petrov in their attempt to get Nikita Koloff and Dusty Rhodes. Then a NWA United States Tag Team Champion with Ivan, he injured Nikita's neck after a brain-buster suplex on the floor that summer, resulting in his (kayfabe) suspension for 30 days and the team being stripped of the title. He left the NWA and wrestled in the World Wrestling Council before appearing in World Championship Wrestling as one half of the "Hardliners," or "Hardline Collection Agency," with Dick Slater in 1991. They feuded with Rick and Scott Steiner but could not win their title.
Murdoch was the twenty-seventh entrant in the 1995 WWF Royal Rumble. He was eliminated by Henry O. Godwinn. That May, he wrestled Wahoo McDaniel in a black-and-white "Legends Match" at Slamboree. In March 1996, he wrestled Vampire Warrior and The Viking in Kuantan, Malaysia, then finished his career in the May 23 main event of a Pro Wrestling Fujiwara Gumi show in Tokyo, against Yoshiaki Fujiwara.
Over the years, several within professional wrestling who knew Murdoch have said he was racist and was a member of the Ku Klux Klan. In a shoot interview, Bad News Brown accused him of being a member of the Klan. This was also mentioned by Tito Santana in his autobiography, Tales From The Ring. Former WWE SmackDown head writer Alex Greenfield also related a story told to him by Dusty Rhodes about Murdoch driving him to a Klan party without telling him it was a KKK party beforehand. Most recently, former wrestling star Rocky Johnson, father of Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson, claims Murdoch was a member of the Klan and that he once knocked him unconscious during a match stating during an interview, "Because he was KKK and didn't like blacks, he kept kicking me hard and punching me. I said, 'you hit me one more time, I'm hitting you back.' He hit me, and I knocked him out."
Murdoch appeared in four movies: The Wrestler (1974), Paradise Alley (1978), Grunt! The Wrestling Movie (1985), and Manhattan Merengue! (1995). He also appeared on an episode of Learning The Ropes and an episode of The Jerry Springer Show.
Murdoch was featured as a playable character in the 2007 video game Wrestle Kingdom 2.
Championships and accomplishments
- All Japan Pro Wrestling NWA United National Championship (1 time)
- Central States Wrestling NWA Central States Heavyweight Championship (2 times) NWA Central States Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Bob Brown NWA North American Tag Team Championship (Central States version) (3 times) – with Dusty Rhodes (1) and Bob Sweetan (2)
- Championship Wrestling from Florida NWA Florida Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Dusty Rhodes (1), Bobby Duncum (1) NWA Southern Heavyweight Championship (Florida version) (1 time)
- Gulf Coast Championship Wrestling NWA Gulf Coast Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Don Carson
- Jim Crockett Promotions NWA United States Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Ivan Koloff
- NWA Big Time Wrestling NWA American Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Dusty Rhodes
- NWA Detroit NWA World Tag Team Championship (Detroit version) (1 time) – with Dusty Rhodes
- NWA Mid-America NWA World Tag Team Championship (Mid-America version) (1 time) – with Don Carson
- NWA Tri-State / Mid-South Wrestling Association Mid-South North American Championship (2 times) Mid-South Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Junkyard Dog NWA North American Heavyweight Championship (Tri-State version) (3 times) NWA Tri-State Brass Knuckles Championship (1 time) NWA United States Tag Team Championship (Tri-State version) (2 times) – with Killer Karl Kox (1), Ted DiBiase (1)
- NWA Western States Sports NWA Brass Knuckles Championship (Amarillo version) (3 times) NWA International Heavyweight Championship (Amarillo version) (3 times) NWA Western States Heavyweight Championship (1 time) NWA Western States Tag Team Championship (3 times) – with Bobby Duncum (1) and Blackjack Mulligan (2) 
- National Wrestling Federation NWF World Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Dusty Rhodes
- Professional Wrestling Hall of Fame Class of 2013
- Pro Wrestling Illustrated PWI Most Inspirational Wrestler of the Year (1974) PWI ranked him #96 of the top 500 singles wrestlers of the "PWI Years" in 2003
- St. Louis Wrestling Club NWA Missouri Heavyweight Championship (3 times) St. Louis Wrestling Hall of Fame
- World Championship Wrestling (Australia) IWA World Tag Team Championship (2 times) – with Lars Anderson (1), Dusty Rhodes (1)
- World Wrestling Council WWC Universal Heavyweight Championship (1 time) WWC World Television Championship (3 times)
- World Wrestling Federation WWF Tag Team Championship (1 time) – with Adrian Adonis