Bill Murray gets up to some weird and wonderful things, here are 20 of the best
No one knows where Bill Murray came from. Some say Chicago. Well actually, most say Chicago. In fact, it’s probably the most commonly known thing that people know his background. But the point is this: while he may have been born and raised in the Windy City, he is no mere mortal. He exists in another realm where he is allowed to do what he wants, as well as occasionally being contractually obliged to act in a film. Here are his top moments… until he does something else whacky, that is.
20. The bachelor pep talk
Kicking off this compendium of Murray moments is his latest stunt: crashing a bachelor party (that’s stag do to me and you) and giving a little pep talk. Rather than giving a tired speech about marriage, Bill addressed a young husband-to-be, telling him that he should go on a wild adventure with his future wife to really get to know her. Sounds like some sound advice? Of course it does, because it came from the mind of the Murricane.
19. Doing Garfield due to misinformation.
We all make mistakes, don’t we? Bill Murray is no different, except sometimes he accidentally makes films. Case in point: Garfield. Legend has it, he agreed to lend his voice to the lazy, lasagne-munching feline after thinking that one half of the Coen Brothers had written the script. Instead it was a Joel Cohen, a man responsible for conceiving the story of Daddy Day Care and Cheaper By The Dozen. Still, he probably learnt his lesson, and one can only imagine what he spent his fee on.
18. His frequent encounters with David Letterman
A lot of chat show hosts have developed special bonds with some of their guests – Ricky Gervais and Jonathan Ross, to name the most obvious example – and across the pond in America its Letterman and Murray. Having been the very first guest on the Late Show, Murray has always brought something special to the table when making an appearance. Perhaps the best of which was a recent instance where he came out dressed as Liberace and towards the end of the segment decided to use a pneumatic drill to pierce the studio floors. Utterly insane.
17. Slow motion walking with fans
These days, film actors are so mobbed by TMZ journalists and other annoyances that they get fed up with being seen in public. But not our Bill. Instead of ducking fans, he is known for being friendly and courteous. On one instance he even agreed to do a superb slow motion glide down a hallway with some of his biggest supporters. Half Tarantino, half Wes Anderson, and all awesome.
16. Instigating a mass singalong of Them’s garage-rock hit, Gloria at a guitar festival, and doing so with the charisma of someone 133 times more musically talented
What act do you open up a guitar festival with? An accomplished facemelter soloist extraordinaire? A smooth latino melody maker? No, no. Just Bill Murray strumming violently away on a strat, with a little help from Eric Clapton.
15. Making Clint Eastwood seem like a Teddy Bear
He may be best known recently for shouting at chair in the run-up to the 2012 presidential election, but Clint Eastwood is a man of great sternness. So it was great to see two opposing political minds (Murray is a devoted American Green Party member) and Eastwood (anti-chairist and staunch Republican) duet on a delightful little ditty, making the Western star seem almost approachable.
14. Becoming ‘Director of Fun’ at his co-owned baseball team
Every football fan in England loves it when a high profile celebrity takes a vested interest in their local team. They even love it when they masquerade as having a passing affection for a team – lest we forget how over the moon Brummies were when Tom Hanks sported a Villa scarf at a London premiere. So it is a truly great thing that Murray has never forgotten his Chicago roots. As well as fervent passion for any team in the Illinois area, he has also poured his own capital into propping up lower league teams.
13. Serving SXSW revellers in the Shangri-La tent
There is always a magical feeling at a festival, like you might bump into a great. But walking into the Texas festival’s Shangri-La tent and seeing 20% of Wu Tang Clan (RZA & GZA) and Bill Murray drinking and serving tequila must have been an unbelievable sight.
12. Whatever is going on in this picture
11. His agent is his answer machine
Some jobbing actors wait furiously around their agent’s office in the lame hope of a bite. And we shouldn’t knock ’em – Hollywood is no easy business to get into. But it can also envelop you. This is why Murray these days detaches himself from the scene, and lets his answer machine pull in the offers from studios. Sometimes he misses out some ostensibly good opportunities, however Bill cares little, as he’s probably out somewhere getting boozy in a golf cart.
10. The ad-libbed, drink and drug-fuelled filming of Caddyshack
There is only one word that can really sum up the making of Caddyshack: raucous. When you get a group of upcoming filmmakers and actors, with penchant for intoxicants, together there is one thing you can be certain of: calamity, and one thing you can hope for: hilarity. Luckily, the film has both in uneven measure. It definitely isn’t the finest film in Murray’s arsenal, but he is the best thing about the film. For a more comprehensive rundown of what happened, click here.
9. When he addressed his late, longtime collaborator Harold Ramis during this year’s Oscars
It was only a fleeting, off-the-cuff remark that he made when adding the director’s name to the list of nominees, but it is a moment that is well deserved of a place. You see, the two hadn’t always seen eye-to-eye on projects (most notably, they argued over the tone and message of Groundhog Day), but they still respected each other. The pause Bill makes after he says his bit also says more than most acceptance speeches could, which goes to show how authentic he is as a person. We’re going to miss you, Egon.
8. Playing Peter Venkman
Well the Ghostbusters character had to come somewhere, didn’t it? Originally, however, the role was meant for John Belushi who may have done justice to the role, but Murray held his own in a very unique way. With most of the actor’s scenes ad-libbed, there are some classic lines spouted from Venkman, but perhaps the best moment of all is: “Dogs and cats living together! Mass hysteria!” Hilarious.
7. The tale of St Andrews, Scotland
If you’re often in the company of graduates, now and again they will doubtless tell you about a wild party they once had in their halls of residence. Sure, maybe someone fired a fire extinguisher in someone’s face or ring of fire got a little bit out of hand, but did Bill Murray turn up, get his drink on and then proceed to clean the dishes? Probably not, unless you went to St Andrews University the year Lost in Translation came out.
6. His performance as Phil Connors in Groundhog Dog
Conceptually, Groundhog Day is a really innovative idea – regardless of genre – but the fact that funnyman Bill Murray appeared in it made it exquisite. When it’s funny, it’s hilarious, and when it treads a philosophical plain, it does so movingly. The scenes in which Connors starts repeatedly ending his life is still a sobering watch. Anyway, moving on, let’s cheer ourselves up with Phil learning how to become the perfect date.
5. The laptop and the Starbucks
Bill Murray Stories is a website that most fans should frequent once in a while, and the one tale that inspired the database is a simple one: a man left his laptop unattended as he went to get an overpriced coffee, and when he returned Bill Murray was in his place, writing away. After quickly scrolling through what he had had written, which turned out to be a collection of made up stories about the actor, the Chicagoan stood up, locked eyes with the laptop owner before saying: “No one will ever believe you.” And with that, Bill left.
4. The boy with the seizure
Most of the stories people recount about Murray are funny tales of his silly antics, yet one that has touched a lot of people is the story of a 19-year-old son who had a fit in front of his parents, to their utter horror. Whilst many people panicked, the actor approached the family and offered soothing words. If that doesn’t make you a little bit teary, there’s something wrong with you, or you’re a Rob Schneider fan.
3. The ongoing Road House prank
There are many stars in Hollywood that are known for pranking. George Clooney, for instance, plays tricks on his protege, Matt Damon, as often as possible. Young Bill is no different, and one of the best occurrences of this is Murray calling up his best pal, Mitch Glazer, to describe a steamy sex scene that his actress wife, Kelly Lynch has with Patrick Swayze in the film Road House. He apparently still does it to this day, and at the age of 63, you have admire his simple, juvenile pleasures.
Forget Johnny Depp in 21 Jump Street, this could well be the greatest cameo in the history of modern cinema. With a self-awareness that just adds another interesting facet to his persona, Murray plays a wisecracking, true-to-life version of himself. That is until [SPOILER] he’s shotgunned in the chest by an unknowing Jesse Eisenberg. His last words? His biggest regret: “Garfield, maybe.” Emma Stone is right. He just gets me.
1. Lost In Translation
There comes a time in an actor’s life when they use a film to reflect on, or mirror, their career. Lost In Translation is a collection of Murray’s greatest moments because he knew how to assume the lead character so astutely. He is someone who had seen all the downsides to fame and celebrity, and while there are moments where his character, Bob Harris, seems adrift in a foreign environment, he puts on a brave face and offers some solid life advice to Scarlett Johannson’s Charlotte. And of course, all along the way there are genuine moments of mirth, tenderness and a marvellous Roxy Music karaoke performance.
Main image: Phil Sherwood