William James “Bill” Murray (born September 21, 1950) is an American actor and comedian. He first gained exposure on Saturday Night Live for which he earned an Emmy Award and later went on to star in comedy films, including Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), What About Bob? (1991), and Groundhog Day (1993). Murray garnered additional critical acclaim later in his career, starring in Lost in Translation (2003), which earned him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also received Golden Globe nominations for his roles in Rushmore, Hyde Park on Hudson and St. Vincent.
He is a regular collaborator with director Wes Anderson, including Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001), The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004), The Darjeeling Limited (2007), Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009), Moonrise Kingdom (2012), and The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014).
Murray was born in Evanston, Illinois, and was raised in Wilmette, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. He is the son of Lucille (nÃ©e Collins), a mail room clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, a lumber salesman. Murray and his eight siblings were raised in a Catholic Irish American family. 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, who has traveled the United States in a one-woman program, portraying St. Catherine of Siena. Their father died in 1967 from complications of diabetes when Bill was 17 years old.
As a youth, Murray read children’s biographies of American heroes like Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickok, and Davy Crockett. He attended St. Joseph grade school and Loyola Academy. During his teen years, he worked as a golf caddy to fund his education at the Jesuit high school. One of his sisters had polio and his mother suffered several miscarriages. During his teen years he was the lead singer of a rock band called the Dutch Masters and took part in high school and community theater.
After graduating, Murray attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado, taking pre-medical courses. He quickly dropped out, returning to Illinois. Decades later, in 2007, Regis awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. On September 21, 1970, the police arrested Murray at Chicago’s O’Hare Airport for trying to smuggle 10Â lb (4.5Â kg) of cannabis, which he had allegedly intended to sell. Murray was convicted and later sentenced to probation.
Saturday Night Live
In 1975, an Off Broadway version of a Lampoon show led to his first television role as a cast member of the ABC variety show Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell that featured animal acts and children with loud voices. That same season, another variety show titled NBC’s Saturday Night premiered. Cosell’s show lasted just one season, canceled in early 1976. After working in Los Angeles with the “guerrilla video” commune TVTV on several projects, Murray rose to prominence in 1976. He officially joined the cast of NBC’s Saturday Night Live for the show’s second season, following the departure of Chevy Chase, but had been on the premiere episode of the show. Murray was with SNL for three seasons from 1977-1980. A Rutland Weekend Television sketch Eric Idle brought for his appearance on SNL developed into the 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash with Murray (alongside other SNL cast members) appearing as “Bill Murray the K”, a send-up of New York radio host Murray the K, in a segment of the film that is a parody of the Maysles Brothers’s documentary The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit. During the first few seasons of SNL, Murray was in a romantic relationship with fellow cast member Gilda Radner.
Murray landed his first starring role with the film Meatballs in 1979. He followed this up with his portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson in the 1980s Where the Buffalo Roam. In the early 1980s, he starred in a string of box-office hits including Caddyshack, Stripes, and Tootsie. Murray became the first guest on NBC’s Late Night with David Letterman on February 1, 1982. He would later appear on the first episode of the Late Show with David Letterman in August 1993, when the show moved to CBS. On January 31, 2012 – 30 years after his first appearance with Letterman – Murray appeared again on his talk show.
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 The Razor’s Edge. Ghostbusters became the highest-grossing film of 1984. The Razor’s Edge, which was filmed before Ghostbusters but not released until after, was a box-office flop.
Upset over the failure of The Razor’s Edge, Murray took four years off from acting to study philosophy and history at the Sorbonne, frequent the CinÃ©mathÃ¨que in Paris, and spend time with his family in their Hudson River Valley home. During that time, his second son, Luke, was born. With the exception of a cameo appearance in the 1986 movie Little Shop of Horrors, he did not make any appearances in films, though he did participate in several public readings in Manhattan organized by playwright/director Timothy Mayer and in a stage production of Bertolt Brecht’s A Man’s A Man.
Murray returned to films in 1988 with Scrooged and Ghostbusters II in 1989. In 1990, Murray made his first and only attempt at directing when he co-directed Quick Change with producer Howard Franklin. His subsequent films What About Bob? (1991) and Groundhog Day (1993) were box-office hits. After Groundhog Day, he appeared in a series of well-received supporting roles in films like Ed Wood, Kingpin, and Space Jam (where he appeared as himself.) However, his starring roles in Larger Than Life, and The Man Who Knew Too Little were not as successful with critics or audiences. In 1998, he received much critical acclaim for Wes Anderson’s Rushmore for which he won Best Supporting Actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (tying with Billy Bob Thornton). Murray decided to take a turn towards more dramatic roles and experienced a resurgence in his career, taking on roles in Wild Things, Cradle Will Rock, Hamlet (as Polonius), and The Royal Tenenbaums. In 2003, he appeared in Sofia Coppola’s Lost in Translation and went on to earn a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, as well as Best Actor awards from several film critic organizations. He was considered a favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, but Sean Penn ultimately won the award for his performance in Mystic River. In an interview included on the Lost in Translation DVD, Murray states that it is his favorite movie in which he has appeared. Also in 2003, he appeared in a short cameo for the movie Coffee and Cigarettes, in which he played himself “hiding out” in a local coffee shop.
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 again in 2006 for Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. (Later, Murray claimed he only took part because he was under the misguided impression the screenplay, co-written by Joel Cohen, was the work of Joel Coen.) In 2004, he made his third collaboration with Wes Anderson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and also starred in Jim Jarmusch’s Broken Flowers. In 2005, Murray announced that he would take a break from acting as he had not had the time to relax since his new breakthrough in the late 1990s. He did return to the big screen for brief cameos in Wes Anderson’s The Darjeeling Limited and in Get Smart as Agent 13, the agent in the tree. In 2008, he played an important role in the post-apocalyptic film City of Ember, and in 2009, played himself in a cameo role in the zombie comedy Zombieland.
Murray provided the voice for the character Mr. Badger for the 2009 animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox. Though there was speculation that he might return to the Ghostbusters franchise for the rumored Ghostbusters 3, he dispelled such speculation in an interview with GQ. In March 2010, Bill Murray appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and talked about his return to Ghostbusters III, stating “I’d do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel.” In an interview with GQ, Murray said: “You know, maybe I should just do it. Maybe it’d be fun to do.” In the interview, when asked “Is the third Ghostbusters movie happening? What’s the story with that?”, Bill Murray replied, “It’s all a bunch of crock.” Despite this comment, later reports by Dan Aykroyd and Stefano Paginini suggest the movie is well under way, and the script has already been approved.
In the 2010s, Murray has been part of ensembles which received several award nominations in two Wes Anderson movies: Moonrise Kingdom (2010) and Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Murray was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the 2014 film St. Vincent.
Outside show business
He is a partner with his brothers in Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, a restaurant located near St. Augustine. He also resides in Charleston, South Carolina, where he is a very active community member.
He is a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints independent semi-pro 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, Fort Myers Miracle, Salt Lake Sting (APSL), Catskill Cougars and Salt Lake City Trappers.
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. This practice has the downside of sometimes preventing him from taking parts in films such as Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, Monsters, Inc., and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. When asked about this practice, however, Murray seems 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.”
During the filming of Stripes, Murray married Margaret Kelly on Super Bowl Sunday in Las Vegas on January 25, 1981. Later, they remarried in Chicago for their families. Margaret gave birth to two sons, Homer (born 1982) and Luke (born 1985). Luke is an assistant basketball coach at Xavier University. Following Murray’s affair with Jennifer Butler, the couple divorced in 1996. In 1997, he married Butler. Together, they have four sons: Caleb (born January 11, 1993), Jackson (born October 6, 1995), Cooper (born January 27, 1997), and Lincoln (born May 30, 2001). Butler filed for divorce on May 12, 2008, accusing Murray of domestic violence, infidelity, and addictions to sex, marijuana and alcohol. Their divorce was finalized on June 13, 2008.
Murray was once pulled over by Swedish police on suspicion of driving a golf cart under the influence of alcohol.
Murray has homes in Los Angeles; Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts; Charleston, South Carolina; and Palisades, New York, a suburb of New York City. Between 2008 and 2013, Murray maintained a residence in the Greenwich Village neighborhood of New York City.
During the 2000 presidential campaign, Murray supported Green Party candidate Ralph Nader. He also donated $1,000 to former Governor of Nebraska Bob Kerrey’s successful election to the United States Senate in 1988.
Murray is a fan of several Chicago professional sports teams, especially the Chicago Cubs, Chicago Bears and the Chicago Bulls. (He was once a guest color commentator for a Cubs game during the 1980s.) Murray is an avid Quinnipiac University basketball fan, where his son served as head of basketball operations. Murray is a regular fixture at home games. He cheered courtside for the Illinois Fighting Illini’s game against the 2004-05 Arizona Wildcats in the Regional Final game in Chicago. He is a fixture at home games of those teams when in his native Chicago. After traveling to Florida during the Cubs playoff run to help “inspire” the team (Murray joked with Cubs slugger Aramis RamÃrez he was very ill and needed two home runs to give him the hope to live), he was invited to the champagne party in the Cubs’ clubhouse when the team clinched the NL Central in late September 2007, along with fellow actors John Cusack, Bernie Mac, James Belushi, and former Cubs player Ron Santo. Murray appears in Santo’s documentary, This Old Cub.
As a Chicago native, Murray appeared at the 50th annual Chicago Air & Water Show in August 2008. He performed a tandem jump with the U.S. Army Parachute Team Golden Knights. He was the emcee for Eric Clapton’s Crossroads Guitar Festival on July 28, 2007, where he dressed in various guises of Clapton as he appeared through the years. He was MC again in 2010.
In 1987, he made a sizable donation to assist in the development and building of the Nathalie Salmon House. This home has been able to provide affordable housing for low-income seniors. Michael and Lilo Salmon, the founders of Housing Opportunities and Maintenance for the Elderly (HOME), have credited Bill Murray with performing “miracles” for them.