Bill Murray – Iconic Comedian

Murray later starred in Sofia Coppola‘s Lost in Translation (2003), which earned him a Golden Globe and a British Academy Film Award, as well as an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. He also frequently collaborated with directors Wes Anderson and Jim Jarmusch. He received Golden Globe nominations for his roles in Ghostbusters, Rushmore (1998), Hyde Park on Hudson (2012), St. Vincent (2014), and the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge (2014), for which he later won his second Primetime Emmy Award. Murray received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2016.

Murray was born in Evanston, Illinois. Murray and his eight siblings grew up in an Irish Catholic family. His paternal grandfather was from County Cork, while his maternal ancestors were from County Galway. Three of his siblings, John Murray, Joel Murray, and Brian Doyle-Murray, are also actors. A sister, Nancy, is an Adrian Dominican nun in Michigan; she has traveled the United States in two one-woman programs, portraying Catherine of Siena and Dorothy Stang. His brother Ed Murray died in 2020. Their father died in 1967 at the age of 46 from complications of diabetes when Bill was 17 years old.

On September 21, 1970, his 20th birthday, the police arrested Murray at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for trying to smuggle 10 lb (4.5 kg) of cannabis, which he had allegedly intended to sell. The drugs were discovered after Murray joked to the passenger next to him that he had packed a bomb in his luggage. Murray was convicted and sentenced to probation.

With an invitation from his older brother, Brian, Murray got his start at The Second City in Chicago, an improvisational comedy troupe, studying under Del Close.  In 1974, he moved to New York City and was recruited by John Belushi as a featured player on The National Lampoon Radio Hour.

Murray was the first guest on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman on February 1, 1982 and he appeared as Letterman’s final guest when the host retired on May 20, 2015.

2020s

On February 2, 2020, a Jeep commercial starring Murray aired during the Super Bowl referencing his role in the film Groundhog Day as Phil, with him stealing the groundhog and driving him to various places in the orange Jeep Gladiator.

Murray reunited with Sofia Coppola for the comedy-drama On the Rocks in 2020. He will also reprise his role as Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters: Afterlife directed by Jason Reitman, scheduled to premier in June 2021.

Outside show business

Murray is a partner with his brothers in Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, a restaurant with two locations. In 2001, they opened at the World Golf Village near St. Augustine, Florida. In 2018, the second location was opened inside the Crowne Plaza Rosemont Hotel near the O’Hare International Airport. He resides in Charleston, South Carolina and he is a very active community member.

He is a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints, a Minor League Baseball team of the Triple-A East and the Triple-A affiliate of the Minnesota Twins. Bill occasionally travels to Saint Paul, Minnesota to watch the team’s games. He also owns part of the Charleston RiverDogs, the Hudson Valley Renegades, and the Brockton Rox. He has invested in a number of other minor league teams in the past, including the Utica Blue Sox, the Fort Myers Miracle, the Salt Lake Sting (APSL), the Catskill Cougars, and the Salt Lake City Trappers. In 2012 he was inducted into the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame for his ownership and investment activities in the league.

Being very detached from the Hollywood scene, Murray does not have an agent or manager and reportedly only fields offers for scripts and roles using a personal telephone number with a voice mailbox that he checks infrequently.  When asked about this practice, however, Murray seemed content with his inaccessibility, stating, “It’s not that hard. If you have a good script that’s what gets you involved. People say they can’t find me. Well, if you can write a good script, that’s a lot harder than finding someone. I don’t worry about it; it’s not my problem.”

Murray’s popularity has been such that (as of 2017) he holds an iconic status in American popular culture. Murray’s eccentric style of comedy, both on-screen and in his personal life, has caused him to be seen as a folk hero to many making him a significant meme in various media including books and the Internet. In 2016 he was awarded the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor by the Kennedy Center.

Personal life

Murray has been married twice. First wife, Margaret Kelly on January 25, 1981 and divorced in 1996.  Margaret gave birth to two sons, Homer and Luke. In 1997, he married Butler and they divorced in 2008. Together, they have four sons: Caleb, Jackson, Cooper, and Lincoln.

Murray stated in a 1984 interview: “I’m definitely a religious person, but it doesn’t have much to do with Catholicism anymore. I don’t think about Catholicism as much.”

In 1987, he donated a large amount of money to help build the Nathalie Salmon House, which provides affordable housing for low-income seniors. Michael and Lilo Salmon, the founders of Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME), said Murray performed “miracles” for them.

Murray has homes in Los AngelesRancho Santa Fe, CaliforniaMartha’s Vineyard, MassachusettsCharleston, South Carolina; and Palisades, New York, a suburb of New York City.  Net worth estimated at $180 million.

 

The Feuds of Bill Murray

Murray has been known for his mood swings, leading Dan Aykroyd to refer to him as “The Murricane”. Murray has said of his reputation: “I remember a friend said to me a while back: ‘You have a reputation of being difficult to work with.’ But I only got that reputation from people I didn’t like working with, or people who didn’t know how to work, or what work is.”

In the book Live from New York: An Uncensored History of Saturday Night Live, as Told By Its Stars, Writers and Guests, Chevy Chase recalls being confronted by Murray shortly before an SNL broadcast in which Chase had returned to guest host. The issue, likely to do with Chase’s insistence on doing the “Weekend Update” segment that had been taken over by Jane Curtin, led to Murray and Chase trading insults, with Murray telling Chase to go have sex with Jacqueline Carlin, Chase’s wife at the time, while Chase commented that Murray’s face looked “like something Neil Armstrong had landed on”. The argument eventually turned physical. Murray later said of the incident, “It was an Oedipal thing, a rupture. Because we all felt mad he had left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel, who had to speak for everyone. But Chevy and I are friends now. It’s all fine. The two later starred together in Caddyshack in 1980.

According to Den of Geek, Murray did not get along well with Sean Young during the production of Stripes and has refused to work with her ever again.

Murray has said in interviews that he and film director Richard Donner did not get along well while filming Scrooged, stating that they would disagree with each other. Donner said of Murray: “He’s superbly creative, but occasionally difficult – as difficult as any actor.”[

Both Murray and Richard Dreyfuss have confirmed in separate interviews that they did not get along with each other during the making of What About Bob? In addition, the film’s producer Laura Ziskin recalled having a disagreement with Murray that led him to toss her into a lake Ziskin confirmed in 2003, “Bill also threatened to throw me across the parking lot and then broke my sunglasses and threw them across the parking lot. I was furious and outraged at the time, but having produced a dozen movies, I can safely say it is not common behavior.” Dreyfuss later alleged in 2019 that Murray screamed at him while he was intoxicated and told him, “Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!” and then threw an ashtray at him. Although neither of them have crossed paths since the release of the film, Dreyfuss confirmed in a 2020 interview that he has forgiven Murray. Murray also had a falling out with film director and longtime collaborator Harold Ramis during the production of Groundhog Day. According to screenwriter Danny Rubin, “They were like two brothers who weren’t getting along.” Apparently, they had such intense creative differences that one day Ramis grabbed Murray by the shirt collar and threw him against a wall. As a result, Groundhog Day ultimately served as the final film collaboration between Murray and Ramis although they did take part in the 2009’s Ghostbusters: The Video Game. Murray eventually reconciled with Ramis 20 years later just before Ramis’ death in February 2014. During the making of Charlie’s AngelsLucy Liu allegedly threw punches at Murray after he told her that she could not act.  Murray claims, however, that he and Liu had only an argument rather than a feud and that they have “made peace” since then.  Film director McG, who directed Charlie’s Angels, alleged in 2009 that Murray headbutted him.  Murray has denied ever doing so.

Lost in Translation director Sofia Coppola said that the central scene of Scarlett Johansson and Murray lying on the bed together took multiple takes because the actors did not seem to be getting along. Anjelica Huston recalled having a feud with Murray during the making of The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.

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