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Bill Murray

Bill MurrayAKA William James Murray

Born: 21-Sep-1950
Birthplace: Wilmette, IL

Gender: Male
Religion: Roman Catholic
Race or Ethnicity: White
Sexual orientation: Straight
Occupation: Actor, Comic

Nationality: United States
Executive summary: Meatballs, SNL alumnus

Bill Murray is a comedic actor, and an unlikely movie star -- his face plain and pock-marked -- his characters are usually smart, often lonely. In his best films, Murray somehow achieves equilibrium between "ironically insincere" and "good-hearted good guy."

As a child, Murray was never an angel, always a smartass. He was in the Boy Scouts, until they kicked him out, and he played Little League baseball until they kicked him out. As a young man, Murray caddied at the community golf course in Evanston, Illinois, and attended a Jesuit high school. He was expelled from Regis College in Denver, after an arrest for marijuana possession. Unsure what to do with his life, Murray joined his older brother Brian Doyle-Murray at Chicago's Second City improvisational comedy troupe. After that, he wrote and performed for The National Lampoon Radio Hour, alongside Dan Aykroyd, John Belushi, and Gilda Radner.

Those three left the Lampoon to join a new TV show called Saturday Night Live, while Murray went to work for a very different show with a very similar name, Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell -- an almost unwatchable prime time variety show starring the wooden sportscaster. It was quickly cancelled, leaving Murray unemployed.

He joined SNL in the 11th episode of its second season, with an impossible task -- replacing Chevy Chase, the most popular face on the program. For several weeks on the show, Murray was a disappointment, especially to himself. He was this weird-looking interloper who, week after week, was not funny. The audience was growing impatient, and so was Murray -- he actually apologized on the air for not being funny. Eventually characters such as 'Todd the nerd' and 'Nick the sleazy lounge singer' got him the funny he needed.

In 1979 Meatballs made him a movie star, and in 1980 Murray (and the rest of the "Not Ready for Prime Time Players") left Saturday Night Live. Since then, Murray has made his career with an uncanny knack for finding scripts that will work well with his persona, even as his hair has grayed and his persona has evolved. As a leading man, his better films include Stripes, Ghostbusters, Scrooged, Quick Change, What About Bob?, Groundhog Day, The Man Who Knew Too Little, Lost in Translation, The Life Aquatic, and Broken Flowers. In supporting roles, Murray shined in Caddyshack, Little Shop of Horrors, Tootsie, Ed Wood, Kingpin, With Friends Like These, Rushmore, Cradle Will Rock, Ethan Hawke's Hamlet, The Royal Tenenbaums, and Coffee & Cigarettes.

After Ghostbusters made Murray an enormous star, nobody in show business was surprised when he agreed to do a sequel. But Hollywood scratched its collective head when he insisted that first he would produce and write and star in a film based on W. Somerset Maugham's The Razor's Edge. Somerset's novel is not funny -- not even a little bit. And neither was Murray's fairly faithful adaptation. Thus there was no audience for the film, but Murray showed that he could perform drama and do it well. After The Razor's Edge, he took a few years off, moving to Paris to study philosophy -- particularly Gurdjieff -- and history at the Sorbonne.

With only occasional exceptions, Murray's films are always worth the price of admission. There is something going on, or if there isn't, you can at least sense that they were trying to make something worthwhile happen. Even as the voice of Garfield, Murray brought a spark to the otherwise dull proceedings. But Groundhog Day is probably Murray's best film. It is the story of a bored, cynical TV weatherman forced to re-live the same day over and over again, until he gets it right. The concept seems almost routine and not too promising; it is unavoidably going to involve showing you the same scenes repetedly, and how could that not be boring? Thanks to an inventive script and a spot-on Murray, it's divine.

Murray is a huge baseball fan, and is co-owner of two minor league teams. He is also an avid golfer and a fan favorite at the otherwise stuffy annual Pebble Beach Pro-Am Tournament. He is the author of Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf, and dislikes discussing his personal life with the media.

Father: Edward Murray (lumberyard worker)
Mother: Lucille Collins
Brother: Brian Doyle-Murray (actor, b. 31-Oct-1945)
Brother: Edward Murray Jr.
Brother: Andrew Murray
Brother: John Murray (producer, b. 23-May-1958)
Brother: Joel Murray (actor, b. 17-April-1963)
Sister: Nancy Murray (nun)
Wife: Margaret Kelly (m. 24-Jan-1980, div. 1996)
Son: Homer Murray (b. 1982)
Son: Luke Murray (b. 1985)
Wife: Jennifer Butler (m. Jul-1997, div. 13-Jun-2008)
Son: Jackson Murray
Son: Cooper Murray

    High School: Loyola Academy, Wilmette IL (1968)
    University: Pre-Med, Regis College (expelled for marijuana use)
    University: Sorbonne

    Little Caesar's Evanston, IL (1971)
    Second City
    Expelled from School
    Drug Possession: Marijuana
    Wedding: Eddie Murphy and Nicole Mitchell (1993)
    Funeral: Hunter S. Thompson (2005)
    Risk Factors: Marijuana, Skydiving

    TELEVISION
    Saturday Night Live

    FILMOGRAPHY AS DIRECTOR
    Quick Change (13-Jul-1990)

    FILMOGRAPHY AS ACTOR
    The Grand Budapest Hotel (6-Feb-2014)
    The Monuments Men (5-Feb-2014)
    A Glimpse Inside the Mind of Charles Swan III (15-Nov-2012)
    Hyde Park on Hudson (31-Aug-2012)
    Moonrise Kingdom (16-May-2012) · Mr. Bishop
    Passion Play (10-Sep-2010)
    Fantastic Mr. Fox (14-Oct-2009) · Badger [VOICE]
    Zombieland (25-Sep-2009) · Himself
    Get Low (12-Sep-2009) · Frank Quinn
    The Limits of Control (1-May-2009) · American
    City of Ember (25-Sep-2008)
    Get Smart (18-Jun-2008)
    The Darjeeling Limited (3-Sep-2007) · The Businessman
    Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (15-Jun-2006) [VOICE]
    The Lost City (3-Sep-2005)
    Broken Flowers (17-May-2005) · Don Johnston
    The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (20-Nov-2004)
    Garfield (11-Jun-2004) · Voice of Garfield [VOICE]
    Coffee and Cigarettes (7-Sep-2003) · Bill Murray
    Lost in Translation (29-Aug-2003) · Bob Harris
    The Royal Tenenbaums (5-Oct-2001)
    Osmosis Jones (7-Aug-2001) · Frank
    Speaking of Sex (2001)
    Charlie's Angels (22-Oct-2000) · Bosley
    Hamlet (24-Jan-2000) · Polonius
    Cradle Will Rock (18-May-1999)
    Rushmore (17-Sep-1998) · Mr. Blume
    With Friends Like These... (10-Sep-1998)
    Wild Things (20-Mar-1998) · Ken Bowden
    The Man Who Knew Too Little (14-Nov-1997) · Wallace Ritchie
    Space Jam (15-Nov-1996) · Himself
    Larger Than Life (26-Jul-1996) · Jack Corcoran
    Kingpin (4-Jul-1996) · Ernie McCracken
    Ed Wood (28-Sep-1994) · Bunny Breckinridge
    Mad Dog and Glory (5-Mar-1993) · Frank
    Groundhog Day (12-Feb-1993) · Phil
    What About Bob? (17-May-1991) · Bob Wiley
    Quick Change (13-Jul-1990) · Grimm
    Ghostbusters II (16-Jun-1989) · Dr. Peter Venkman
    Scrooged (23-Nov-1988) · Frank Cross
    Little Shop of Horrors (19-Dec-1986) · Arthur Denton
    The Razor's Edge (19-Oct-1984)
    Nothing Lasts Forever (Sep-1984)
    Ghostbusters (8-Jun-1984) · Dr. Peter Venkman
    Tootsie (17-Dec-1982) · Jeff
    Stripes (26-Jun-1981) · John
    Caddyshack (25-Jul-1980) · Carl Spackler
    Where the Buffalo Roam (25-Apr-1980) · Hunter S. Thompson
    Loose Shoes (1980)
    Meatballs (28-Jun-1979)
    Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979)
    The Rutles (22-Mar-1978)

Author of books:
Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf (1999)


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