"There aren't many downsides to being rich, other than paying taxes and having relatives asking for money. But being famous, that's a 24 hour job right there." Bill Murray
Emmy winning writer and comedian Bill Murray rose to prominence as a writer and guest performer on NBC's sketch comedy series Saturday Night Live (1977-1980). Also an Oscar nominated actor, Murray received critical reviews for starring in such films as Caddyshack (1980), The Razor's Edge (1984), Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters 2 (1984, 1989), What About Bob (1991), Mad Dog and Glory (1993) and Groundhog Day (1993). Other notable big screen work includes Rushmore (1998), Lost in Translation (2003, nominated for an Oscar and won a Golden Globe), as well as the recent films The Life Aquatic (2004) and Broken Flowers (2005).
The Irish-American actor, who recently announced that he would take a break from acting, is currently busy completing his upcoming films The Lost City and Rob Schneider's Hard R. He was on Empire (UK) magazine's "The Top 100 Movie Stars of All Time" list (October 1997) and the recipient of the Sons of the Desert Annual Comedy Performer Award (April 1997).
"The studios don't seem to foster good writing. They're not so interested in that, but they're more interested in what worked most recently. They're definitely very serious about making money, and that's not a wrong thing, but you don't have to make money the same way all the time." Bill Murray
Childhood and Family:
On September 21, 1950, William J. Murray was born in Wilmette, Illinois to parents Edward Murray (lumber salesman, died in 1967) and Lucille Murray (died in 1988). The fifth of nine children, Bill has eight siblings: brothers Joel Murray (actor; born on born April 17, 1963), Brian Doyle-Murray (actor, born on October 31, 1945), John Murray (actor), Andy Murray, Ed Murray and sisters Nancy (a Dominican nun), Peggy and Laura.
A quite, troublemaking child, Bill was kicked out of both the Boy Scouts and Little League baseball. Along with his siblings, young Bill Murray worked as a caddy to pay his tuition to all-boy's Jesuit school Loyola Academy in Wilmette, Illinois (1968). In school, he played sports and did some acting. He studied pre-medicine at Regis College in Denver, Colorado, but dropped out in his sophomore year after being arrested for marijuana possession.
On January 24, 1980, Bill Murray tied the knot with Margaret Murray (born in 1950), but they separated in 1996 and later divorced. Murray then married costume designer Jennifer Butler (born in 1965) on July 4, 1997, and has four sons: Lincoln (b. 2001), Cooper (b. 1996), Cal (b. 1995) and Jackson (b. 1993) with her. He also has two sons with Margaret Murray, Luke (b. 1985) and Homer (b. 1982).
A diehard Chicago Cubs fan, Murray is the owner of a minor league baseball team in Charleston, SC called the Riverdogs and is an avid golfer who has competed at many pro-am golf tournaments. He recently donated $1,000 to help the children of a deceased police officer in Ossining.
Lost in Translation
"My esteemed agent at the time, Mr. Mike Ovitz (of Disney fame), said, 'You know, you and an elephant would be funny.' And I'm like, 'What?' And when he says this stuff, I always know there's an agenda.
Somebody he knows has got an elephant script. 'You and a elephant would be funny.' No, you and an elephant. You and a mouse would be funny, Mike." Bill Murray.
After dropping out of college, Bill Murray joined older brother Brian Doyle-Murray in the improvisational comedy group Second City in Chicago. He felt entertainment beckon and packed for New York to try out for "National Lampoon Radio Hour" (Murray later also performed in the revue "National Lampoon Show") where he was united with fellow radio comedians John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Dan Aykroyd. While Belushi, Radner and Aykroyd debuted on the NBC's huge hit "Saturday Night Live" (1975), Murray joined Howard Cosell in his variety show on ABC, "Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell."
Murray got his first big screen role as a voice over in the animated Tarzoon, la honte de la jungle (1975, a.k.a. Jungle Burger UK, Shame of the Jungle USA). After a cameo appearance in Paul Mazursky's Golden Globe nominating comedy Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976), Murray substituted for Chevy Chase of NBC's "Saturday Night Live." In the big time show, he reunited with his former radio coworkers and became the cable's quick-witted, cynical comedic actor from 1977 to 1980.
During his stint in the smash hit show, Murray tried his hand in acting. He appeared in the mocking TV movie The Rutles: All You Need Is Cash (1978, produced by Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels) and won his first feature lead as the nutty leader (and trainer) of camp counselors in Ivan Reitman's Canadian classic Meatballs (1979, scripted by Harold Ramis). In 1980, he costarred with Peter Boyle, portraying the off-the-wall Rolling Stone journalist Hunter S.
Thompson, in Art Linson's semi-biographical film Where the Buffalo Roam and teamed with Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight and Michael O'Keefe, playing the gopher-obsessed groundskeeper, in Harold Ramis' golf comedy Caddyshack.
Murray reunited with Ivan Reitman in his army comedy Stripes (1981) and appeared as Dustin Hoffman's roommate in Sydney Pollack's romantic comedy Tootsie (1982). Along with Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, Murray portrayed oddball scientists turned Ghostbusters in Ivan Reitman's sci-fi comedy Ghostbusters (1984, as Dr. Peter Venkman) and reprised his role in its sequel, Ghostbusters II (1989).
Larry Darrell, a veteran who seeks spiritual peace and recovery in John Byrum's adaptation of William Somerset Maugham's novel The Razor's Edge (1984, with Catherine Hicks and Theresa Russell, Murray also served as screenwriter), was Murray's first dramatic lead role.
He followed it up with a small, witty role as the masochistic dental patient in Frank Oz's dark, but goofy and thoroughly fun, musical Little Shop of Horrors (1986). Two years later, Murray starred as Francis Xavier Cross, an evil, crass TV executive, in Richard Donner's updated version of Charles Dicken's Christmas classic A Christmas Carol, the darkly comic Scrooged (1988).
1990 saw Murray co-directing with Howard Franklin and producing the crime comedy Quick Change (based on Jay Cronley's book), in which Murray also costarred with Geena Davis and Randy Quaid. Murray then rejoined Frank Oz to play the title role of Bob, a neurotic man who drives his therapists (Richard Dreyfuss) crazy, in What About Bob (1991) and starred as cynical weatherman Phil Connors in Harold Ramis' acclaimed comedy Groundhog Day (1993, alongside Andie MacDowell).
Murray costarred with Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman, playing a mobster who moonlights as a standup comic, in John McNaughton's drama comedy Mad Dog and Glory (1993) and appeared as aspiring transsexual Bunny Breckinridge in Tim Burton's biopic Ed Wood (starring Johnny Depp). Two years later, he teamed with Michael Jordan and Larry Bird in the basketball animation Space Jam and starred as greedy businessman Jack in Howard Franklin's Larger Than Life (opposite an elephant named Vera). He also became bowling's biggest superstar, Big Ern McCracken, in the Farrelly brothers' comedy Kingpin (1996, with Woody Harrelson, Randy Quaid and Vanessa Angel) and was mistaken for a spy in Jon Amiel's film version of Robert Farrar's novel, The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997).
In 1998, after a small role as a low-life lawyer in John McNaughton's crime thriller Wild Things (starring Kevin Bacon), Murray played a morose producer in Philip Frank Messina's With Friends Like These (alongside Adam Arkin). He also received applause for playing wealthy industrialist Herman Blume in Wes Anderson's quirky comedy Rushmore (starring Jason Schwartzman), which handed him New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics and Golden Satellite Awards.
In the rest of the 1990s, Murray appeared as a ventriloquist in writer-director Tim Robbins' drama, based on actual events in the 1930s, Cradle Will Rock, and costarred with Alec Baldwin in Neil Leifer's short comedy Scout's Honor.
The new millennium watched Murray playing Polonius in Michael Almereyda's modern version of Shakespeare's immortal play Hamlet (starring Ethan Hawke) and become Charlie's Angels' flirtatious boss, Bosley, in McG's adaptation of the TV series Charlie's Angels (with Cameron Diaz, Drew Barrymore and Lucy Liu). He also appeared in the documentary Michael Jordan to the Max (2000) and played a zoo worker, who is attacked by deadly virus, in the Farrelly brothers' notoriously funny, animated, live action comic adventure Osmosis Jones (2001).
Wes Anderson then cast Murray to costar with Gene Hackman, Danny Glover and Anjelica Huston in his drama comedy The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and the next year, Murray performed in an off-Broadway production of "The Guys," opposite Sigourney Weaver.
An Academy Award's Best Actor nomination arrived when director Sofia Coppola handed Murray the lead role of washed-up TV star Bob Harris, opposite Scarlett Johansson, in her drama comedy Lost in Translation (2003). Though Murray did not take home the Oscar, he nabbed a handful of awards, including Golden Globe's Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture, Musical or Comedy.
Afterward, Murray appeared in Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes (2003, with Roberto Benigni and Cate Blanchett) and lent his voice to the animated film Garfield (2004). He also starred as internationally famous oceanographer Steve Zissou in Wes Anderson's adventure comedy The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004, costarring Owen Wilson and Anjelica Huston). More recent, Murray rejoined director Jim Jarmusch in his comedy film Broken Flowers, starring as the resolutely single Don Johnson, opposite Jeffrey Wright and Sharon Stone.
As for his upcoming film works, Murray will soon complete actor-director Andy Garcia's much anticipated drama The Lost City (alongside Dustin Hoffman and Tomas Milian). He is also scheduled to star in the upcoming comedy Rob Schneider's Hard R (costarring Norm Macdonald and Rob Schneider).
"I'm over the Oscar thing. I feel that if you really want an Oscar, you're in trouble. It's like wanting to be married - you'll take anybody. If you want the Oscar really badly, it becomes a naked desire and ambition. It becomes very unattractive. I've seen it.
The nice thing is that I'm over here in Europe making a movie and so I don't need to worry about it." Bill Murray
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Actor, Lost in Translation, 2004
- Independent Spirit: Best Male Lead, Lost in Translation, 2004
- Chicago Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Lost in Translation, 2004
- Online Film Critics Society: Best Actor, Lost in Translation, 2004
- Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Motion Picture - Musical or Comedy, Lost in Translation, 2004
- BAFTA: Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role, Lost in Translation (2004)
- AARP: Best Actor, Lost in Translation, 2004
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Actor, Lost in Translation, 2004
- Golden Satellite: Best Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture (Musical or Comedy), Rushmore, 1998
- National Society of Film Critics: Best Supporting Actor, Rushmore, 1998
- New York Film Critics Circle: Best Supporting Actor, Rushmore, 1998
- Los Angeles Film Critics Association: Best Supporting Actor, Rushmore and Wild Things; cited for work in both films; tied with Billy Bob Thornton (A Simple Plan), 1998
- NATO Star of the Year Award: presented by the National Association of Theatre Owners, 1984
- Emmy: Outstanding Writing in a Comedy, Writing or Music series, Saturday Night Live, 1976-1977