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William James "Bill" Murray (born September 21, 1950) is an American actor and comedian. He first gained national exposure on Saturday Night Live, and went on to star in a number of critically and commercially successful comedic films including Caddyshack (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), and Groundhog Day (1993). He gained additional critical acclaim later in his career, starring in Lost in Translation (2003), for which he was nominated for an Academy Award, and a series of films directed by Wes Anderson, including Rushmore (1998) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).

Early years

Murray, the fifth of nine children, was born and raised in Wilmette, Illinoismarker, a northern suburb of Chicagomarker, the son of Lucille (née Collins), a mail room clerk, and Edward J. Murray II, a lumber salesman. Murray, along with his siblings, grew up in an Irish Catholic family. Three of his siblings are actors: John Murray, Joel Murray, and Brian Doyle-Murray. His sister, Nancy, is an Adrian Dominican Sister in Michiganmarker, traveling around the country portraying St. Catherine of Siena.

The family lived in poverty, and Lucille Murray pressured her children to work. As a youth, Murray read children's biographies of American heroes like Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickok and Davy Crockett. He attended St. Joseph's grade school and Loyola Academy. During his teenage years, he worked as a caddy to fund his education in a Jesuit High School. The 1960s were tough on Murray and his family. His father had diabetes, one of his sisters had polio and his mother had 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, he attended Regis University in Denver, Coloradomarker, taking pre-med courses. However, when police arrested him for possession of marijuana at Chicago's O'Hare Airportmarker, he abandoned his studies. In 2007, Regis University awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.

Second City

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. In 1974, he moved to New York Citymarker and was recruited by John Belushi as a featured player on The National Lampoon Radio Hour, which aired on some 600 stations from 1973 to 1974.

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 little kids 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 Angelesmarker with the "guerrilla video" commune TVTV on a number of projects, Murray rose to prominence in 1976. He joined the cast of NBC's Saturday Night Live for the show's second season, following the departure of Chevy Chase.

During the first few seasons of SNL, Murray was in a serious, romantic relationship with fellow cast member Gilda Radner.

Film career

Murray landed his first starring role with the film Meatballs in 1979. He followed this up with his portrayal of famed writer Hunter S. Thompson in 1980's 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.

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 philosophy and history at the Sorbonnemarker, frequent the Cinemathequemarker 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 Manhattanmarker organized by playwright/director Timothy Mayer and in a production of Bertolt Brecht's A Man's Man.

Murray returned to films in 1988 with Scrooged and the sequel 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 and critically acclaimed.

After a string of films that did not do well with audiences, 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, Hamlet (as Polonius), and The Royal Tenenbaums, he garnered considerable acclaim for Sofia Coppola's 2003 film, Lost in Translation.

He received a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, an Independent Spirit Award, as well as an Academy Award nomination. He also received Best Actor nods from a number of film critic organizations. In an interview included on the Lost in Translation DVD, Murray states that this 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 (it should be noted that this makes it a two-way link between Murray and Lorenzo Music, the former voice of Garfield; Music was also the voice of Peter Venkman, Murray's Ghostbusters character, in the cartoon series The Real Ghostbusters). In 2004, he made his third collaboration with Wes Anderson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou. His dramatic role in Jim Jarmusch's Broken Flowers was also well received.

In 2005, Murray announced that he would take a break from acting, as he had not had the time since his new breakthrough in the late 1990s. He did return to the big screen, however, 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 "zom-com" Zombieland.

Murray provided the voice for the character Mr. Badger for the 2009 animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox.

Golf-related work

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. Murray played Carl Spackler in Caddyshack.

In 2007, Murray attended a golf tournament in Swedenmarker. After the tournament, Murray was pulled over by the Stockholmmarker police for suspicion of driving a golf cart while intoxicated.

While at a golf tournament with British golfer Ian Poulter in St Andrewsmarker, Scotlandmarker, Murray was invited by a student of the university to a house party. Murray went with him and the student reported in Scottish papers that he acted just like he had in the karaoke scene of Lost in Translation, being incredibly fun and energetic. Upon realizing that there were no clean glasses in the house for him to have a drink from, Murray volunteered to do the dishes and was said to be very amiable and unpretentious. In Space Jam, Bill Murray plays himself and plays upon his love for golf. In 2009 Murray was playing with Hal Sutton, Jeff Sluman and Fred Paglia, when an errant tee shot of his struck a bystander in the head. Murray didn't finish out the round, shaken by the incident. "I wasn't sure I was in bounds or not," Murray said in an AP report, "and I saw this NBC golf cart coming at me and he said, ‘I hate to be the one to tell you this but you hit a lady. She's down on the ground.' That is, you know, sobering."

Outside of show business

He is a partner with his brothers in Murray Bros. Caddy Shack, a restaurant chain located near St. Augustinemarker.

He is a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints independent minor-league baseball team and occasionally travels to Saint Paul, Minnesotamarker 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, and Salt Lake Trappers. He was also a part-owner of the Auburn Astros (now the Auburn Doubledays) in Auburn, NY.

Being very detached from the Hollywoodmarker 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 that he had auditioned for and was interested in, such as that of Sulley in Monsters, Inc, Bernard Berkman in The Squid and the Whale, Frank Ginsburg in Little Miss Sunshine and Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. He also regretted losing the chance to play Eddie Valiant in Who Framed Roger Rabbit when he heard that he was considered for the role and that he would have definitely accepted.

Personal life

During the filming of Stripes, Murray married Margaret Kelley on Super Bowl Sunday in Las Vegasmarker on January 25, 1981. Later, they re-married in Chicago for their families. Margaret gave birth to two sons, Homer (born 1982) and Luke (born 1985). Luke is currently a graduate assistant with the basketball team at the University of Arizonamarker, which is one of the top programs in college basketball. But, following Murray's affair with Jennifer Butler, they divorced in 1996. In 1997, he married Jennifer 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.Their divorce was finalized on June 13, 2008.

Murray has homes in Los Angelesmarker, Martha's Vineyard, Massachusettsmarker, Charleston, South Carolinamarker, and Rockland County, New Yorkmarker, just outside of New York City.

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

Murray is a huge fan of Chicago pro sports teams, especially the Chicago Cubs and the Chicago Bears. (He was once a guest color commentator for a Cubs game during the 80s.) He also is a Michael Jordan fan and has made cameo appearances in Space Jam and Jordan documentaries. Murray is an avid Quinnipiac Universitymarker 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 versus the University of North Carolinamarker in the NCAA Basketball Tournament's championship game in 2005. 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 told Cubs slugger Aramis Ramirez 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 legend Ron Santo. Murray appeared 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 M.C. 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.


Year Film Role Notes
1975 Tarzoon, la honte de la jungle voice: English version
1976 Next Stop, Greenwich Village Nick Kessel (uncredited)
1977-1980 Saturday Night Live Various (73 episodes)
Emmy Award for Outstanding Writing for a Variety, Music or Comedy Program (1977)
Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety, Music or Comedy Series

1979 Meatballs Tripper Harrison Nominated — Genie Award for Best Performance by a Foreign Actor
Mr. Mike's Mondo Video Man on the street
1980 Where the Buffalo Roam Dr. Hunter S. Thompson
Le chaînon manquant Dragon (voice: English version)
Caddyshack Carl Spackler
Loose Shoes Lefty Schwartz
1981 Stripes John Winger
1982 Tootsie Jeff Slater
1984 Ghostbusters Dr. Peter Venkman Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nothing Lasts Forever Bus Conductor
The Razor's Edge Larry Darrell
1986 Little Shop of Horrors Arthur Denton
1988 She's Having a Baby Himself cameo
Scrooged Francis Xavier "Frank" Cross Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
1989 Ghostbusters II Dr. Peter Venkman
1990 Quick Change Grimm also co-director
1991 What About Bob? Bob Wiley Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
1993 Groundhog Day Phil Connors Nominated — Saturn Award for Best Actor
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Comedic Performance
Mad Dog and Glory Glory's Boss
1994 Ed Wood Bunny Breckinridge
1996 Kingpin Ernie McCracken
Larger than Life Jack Corcoran
Space Jam Himself
1997 The Man Who Knew Too Little Wallace Ritchie
1998 Wild Things Kenneth Bowden
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor also for Rushmore.

Tied with Billy Bob Thornton for A Simple Plan
With Friends Like These... Maurice Melnick
Rushmore Herman Blume American Comedy Award for Funniest Supporting Actor in a Motion Picture
Independent Spirit Award for Best Supporting Male
Lone Star Film & Television Award for Best Supporting Actor
Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor also for Wild Things.

Tied with Billy Bob Thornton for A Simple Plan
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actor
Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
Nominated — Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actor
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor also for Cradle Will Rock
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actor – Motion Picture

1999 Cradle Will Rock Tommy Crickshaw Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Supporting Actor also for Rushmore
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actor - Motion Picture
"Scout's Honor" Jack Vardell short subject
2000 Hamlet Polonius
Michael Jordan to the Max documentary
Charlie's Angels John Bosley
2001 Speaking of Sex
Osmosis Jones Frank
The Royal Tenenbaums Raleigh St. Clair Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Cast
2003 Lost in Translation Bob Harris BAFTA Award for Best Actor in a Leading Role
Boston Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Golden Globe Award for Best Actor – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Independent Spirit Award for Best Lead Male
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actor
New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Online Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
San Francisco Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Seattle Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Southeastern Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Toronto Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Washington D.C.

Area Film Critics Association for Best Actor
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Chlotrudis Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Irish Film and Television Award for Best International Actor
Nominated — London Film Critics Circle Award for Best Actor
Nominated — MTV Movie Award for Best Performance - Male
Nominated — Phoenix Film Critics Society Award for Best Actor
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Leading Role

Coffee and Cigarettes Himself/Waiter (segment "Delirium")
2004 This Old Cub documentary
Garfield: The Movie Garfield voice only
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou Steve Zissou Nominated — Broadcast Film Critics Association Award for Best Cast
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
2005 Broken Flowers Don Johnston Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
The Lost City The Comedian
2006 Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties Garfield voice only
2007 The Darjeeling Limited The Businessman cameo
2008 Eric Clapton: Crossroads Guitars Festival 2007 Himself cameo
Get Smart Agent 13
City of Ember Mayor Cole
2009 The Limits of Control American
Fantastic Mr. Fox Mr. Badger voice only
Get Low Frank Quinn
Zombieland Himself cameo


  2. Early Career with SNL
  3. Radner, Gilda. It's Always Something. New York: Simon & Schuster, 1989.
  5. Bill Murray attends student party, does dishes (CNN)
  6. Murray Bros. Caddyshack Restaurant
  7. St. Paul Saints ownership

External links

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