Bill Murray

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Bill Murray

Birth name William James Murray
Born September 21, 1950
Flag of United States Wilmette, Illinois
Notable roles Carl Spackler in
Dr. Peter Venkman in
Ghostbusters films
Phil Connors in
Groundhog Day
Herman Blume in
Bob Harris in
Lost in Translation
Garfield in
Garfield: The Movie films
Academy Awards
Nominated: Best Actor
2003 Lost in Translation
Golden Globe Awards
Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2003 Lost in Translation
BAFTA Awards
Best Actor
2003 Lost in Translation

William James "Bill" Murray (September 21, 1950) is an Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-winning and Golden Globe-winning American comedian and actor. He is most famous for his comedic roles in Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and What About Bob?. He has gained further acclaim for recent dramatic roles, such as in the acclaimed films Lost In Translation, Broken Flowers, and Rushmore.


[edit] Biography

[edit] Early life

Murray was born and raised in Wilmette, Illinois, the fifth of nine children of Edward J. Murray II, a lumber salesman, and Lucille Collins,[1] both Irish American Catholics[citation needed]. Three of Murray's siblings are also actors: John Murray, Joel Murray, and Brian Doyle-Murray. A sister, Nancy, is an Adrian Dominican Sister in Illinois. Murray graduated from Loyola Academy, after which he attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado before dropping out to pursue his comedy career.

[edit] Early career

Bill Murray making pizza at Little Caesars Pizza, Evanston, Illinois, 1971
Bill Murray making pizza at Little Caesars Pizza, Evanston, Illinois, 1971

With an invitation from his older brother, Brian, Murray got his start at Second City Chicago studying under Del Close. The improvisational comedy troupe was a perfect fit for Murray's clever, dry humor and ad-libbing. While in Chicago, Murray worked at Little Caesar's alongside now-celebrity chef Kerry Simon. He eventually became a featured player on The National Lampoon Radio Hour, aired on some 600 stations between 1973 and 1975.

[edit] Saturday Night Live

In 1975, he landed his first television role as a cast member of the ABC variety show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell. That same season, another variety show titled NBC's Saturday Night premiered. Cosell's show lasted just one season.

After working in Los Angeles with the "guerrilla video" commune TVTV on a number of projects, Murray rose to prominence when he joined the cast of NBC's newly-titled Saturday Night Live the following season, replacing Chevy Chase. This was initially a turbulent experience for Murray. He often flubbed his lines and seemed awkward on camera. Chase had been the most popular cast member and some fans sent Murray hate mail stating he was a poor replacement. When Chase appeared as a guest host that season, they reportedly got into a fist fight backstage. But by the end of Murray's first season, he had begun to display his witty, laid-back persona. His characters, such as Nick the Lounge Singer and nerd Todd DiLamuca, became very popular with viewers. With the departure of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in 1979, Murray became the most popular member of the ensemble cast. In 1980, the entire cast left the show.

Murray later revisited the troupe he started with in the TV special Bill Murray Live From the Second City in 1980.

[edit] Film career

Murray landed his first starring role with the film Meatballs in 1979. He followed up with his portrayal of famed writer Hunter S. Thompson in 1980s Where the Buffalo Roam. In the early 1980s, he starred in a string of box-office hits including Caddyshack, Stripes and Tootsie (in an unlikely dramatic supporting role).

Murray began work on a film adaptation of the novel The Razor's Edge. The film, which Murray also co-wrote, was his first starring role in a dramatic film. He later agreed to star in Ghostbusters in a role originally written for John Belushi. This was a deal Murray made with Columbia Pictures in order to gain financing for his film. Ghostbusters became the highest-grossing film of 1984. But The Razor's Edge, which was filmed before Ghostbusters but not released until after, was a box-office flop. Upset over the failure of Razor's Edge, Murray took four years off from acting to study French at the Sorbonne. With the exception of a memorable cameo in the 1986 movie Little Shop of Horrors, he did not make any appearances in films.

Murray returned to films in 1988 with Scrooged and followed up with the long-awaited sequel Ghostbusters II in 1989. In 1990, Murray made his first and only attempt at directing when he co-helmed Quick Change with producer Howard Franklin. Subsequent films What About Bob? (1991) and Groundhog Day (1993) were box-office hits and critically acclaimed.

After a string of films that did not do well with audiences (besides Kingpin, in which he played a supporting role), he received much critical acclaim for Wes Anderson's Rushmore for which he won several awards. Murray then experienced a resurgence in his career as a dramatic actor. After dramatic roles in Wild Things, Cradle Will Rock, and Hamlet (as Polonius), and a comedic role in Wes Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, he garnered considerable acclaim for the 2003 film Lost in Translation. He received a Golden Globe Award and a BAFTA award. He was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor, in what was considered to be a two-horse race between him and Sean Penn, who eventually prevailed. In an interview included on the Lost in Translation DVD, Murray states that this is his favorite movie in which he has appeared.

Bill Murray as Don Johnston in Broken Flowers.
Bill Murray as Don Johnston in Broken Flowers.

During this time, Murray still appeared in comedic roles such as Charlie's Angels and Osmosis Jones. In 2004, he provided the voice of Garfield in Garfield: The Movie and marked his third collaboration with Wes Anderson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. Murray also garnered acclaim for his dramatic role in Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers.

In 2005, he announced that he would take a break from acting, as he had not had the time since his new breakthrough in the late-1990s. His last film role to date is Garfield's voice in the sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. Dan Aykroyd has recently confirmed in an interview with CISN Country that Murray will be reprising his role as the voice of Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters III, which will be done with computer animation partially because Murray refused to act in a live action sequel.

[edit] Personal life

Murray wed Margaret Kelly in 1980. They had two sons, Homer (born 1982) and Luke (born 1985), before divorcing in 1994. In 1997, he married Jennifer Butler. They have four children together: Cal (born 1993), Jackson (born 1995), Cooper (born 1996), and Lincoln (born 2001).

He is a partner with his brothers in Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, a restaurant chain with locations near Jacksonville and in Myrtle Beach and St. Augustine. Murray is an avid golfer who often plays in celebrity tournaments. His 1999 book Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf, part autobiography and part essay, expounds on his love of golf. In 2002, he and his brothers starred in the Comedy Central series, The Sweet Spot, which chronicled their adventures playing golf.

He is a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints independent minor-league baseball team and occasionally travels to Saint Paul, Minnesota to watch the team's games. He also owns part of the Charleston RiverDogs, Hudson Valley Renegades, and the Brockton Rox. He invested in a number of other minor league teams in the past, including the Utica Blue Sox, Miami Miracle, and Salt Lake Trappers.

Very detached from the Hollywood scene, Murray does not have an agent or manager and reportedly[2] only fields offers for scripts and roles using a personal telephone number with a voice mailbox that he checks infrequently. This practice has the downside of sometimes preventing him from taking parts that he had auditioned for and was interested in, such as that of Sulley in Monsters, Inc and Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. Murray has homes in Los Angeles, Charleston, SC, and New York.

During the 2000 presidential campaign, Murray stumped for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.

Murray is a huge fan of Chicago pro sports teams, especially the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. He also is a big Michael Jordan fan and has made cameo appearances in Space Jam and Jordan documentaries. He also cheered courtside for the Illinois Fighting Illini's game versus the University of North Carolina in the NCAA Basketball Tournament's championship game in 2005.

[edit] Trivia

  • Murray was the first guest on both of David Letterman's long-running late night television programs. He appeared on the first episode of Late Night with David Letterman on February 1, 1982, as well as the inaugural episode of Late Show with David Letterman on August 30, 1993. In addition, he was the first guest on Late Show on February 1, 2007, as David Letterman celebrated his 25th anniversary in late night.
  • Lorenzo Music voiced Murray's character, Venkman, in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series. Music is best-known for voicing Garfield the cat in various cartoon series. Murray would go on to be the voice of Garfield in the 2004 film and 2006 film.
  • Murray is said to have a policy of not doing a third version of anything, which is one of the reasons Ghostbusters III has been reported to be in development hell, but his filmography would also seem to suggest that he has not been offered a third version of anything besides Ghostbusters. It is possible he will be offered a second sequel to Garfield.
  • In early February 2007, Dan Aykroyd revealed in an interview that Bill Murray agreed to provide the voice of Dr. Venkman in an upcoming animated Ghostbusters sequel, after having upheld his refusal to appear in a live-action sequel.
  • He was named #1 Smartass on Comedy Central's "List of the 51 Greatest Smartasses."
  • Appeared on TLC's American Chopper during which the Teutuls did a Caddyshack-themed bike.

[edit] Filmography

[edit] Upcoming

Preceded by
Daniel Day-Lewis
for Gangs of New York
BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
for Lost in Translation

Succeeded by
Jamie Foxx
for Ray
Preceded by
Richard Gere
for Chicago
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
for Lost in Translation

Succeeded by
Jamie Foxx
for Ray

[edit] External links

Wikiquote has a collection of quotations related to:
Preceded by
Jane Curtin and Dan Aykroyd
Weekend Update
Succeeded by
Charles Rocket