The following biography
William James "Bill" Murray (born September
21, 1950) is an Academy Award-nominated, Emmy-winning and Golden
Globe-winning American comedian and actor. He is most famous for his
comedic roles in Groundhog Day, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and What About
Bob?. He has gained further acclaim for recent dramatic roles, such as
in the acclaimed films Lost In Translation and Broken Flowers.
Birth name William James Murray
Born September 21, 1950
Notable roles Carl Spackler in Caddyshack,
Dr. Peter Venkman in Ghostbusters and
Phil Connors in Groundhog Day,
Herman Blume in Rushmore,
Bob Harris in Lost in Translation
Garfield in Garfield: The Movie and
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties
Nominated: Academy Award for Best Actor
(2004) for Lost in Translation
Murray was born and raised in Wilmette,
Illinois, the fifth of nine children of Edward J. Murray II, a lumber
salesman, and Lucille Collins, both Irish American Catholics. Three
of Murray's siblings are also actors: John Murray, Joel Murray, and
Brian Doyle-Murray. A sister, Nancy, is an Adrian Dominican Sister in
Illinois. Murray graduated from Loyola Academy. He went to Regis
University in Denver, Colorado before dropping out to pursue his comedy
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. While in Chicago, Murray worked at
Little Caesar's alongside now-celebrity chef Kerry Simon. He eventually
became a featured player on The National Lampoon Radio Hour, aired on
some 600 stations between 1973 and 1975.
Saturday Night Live
In 1975, he landed his first television
role as a cast member of the ABC variety show Saturday Night Live with
Howard Cosell. That same season, another variety show titled NBC's
Saturday Night premiered. Cosell's show lasted just one season.
Murray rose to prominence when he joined
the cast of NBC's newly-titled Saturday Night Live the following season,
replacing Chevy Chase. This was initially a turbulent experience for
Murray. He often flubbed his lines and seemed awkward on camera. Chase
had been the most popular cast member and some fans sent Murray hate
mail stating he was a poor replacement. When Chase appeared as a guest
host that season, they reportedly got into a fist fight backstage. But
by the end of Murray's first season, he had begun to display his witty,
laid-back persona. His characters, such as Nick the Lounge Singer and
nerd Todd DiLamuca, became very popular with viewers. With the departure
of Dan Aykroyd and John Belushi in 1979, Murray became the most popular
member of the ensemble cast. In 1980, the entire cast left the show.
Murray later revisited the troupe he
started with in the TV special Bill Murray Live From the Second City in
Murray landed his first starring role with
the film Meatballs in 1979. He followed 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 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 French at the
Sorbonne. With the exception of a memorable cameo in the 1986 movie
Little Shop of Horrors, he did not make any appearances in films.
Murray returned to films in 1988 with
Scrooged and followed up with the long-awaited sequel Ghostbusters II in
1989. In 1990, Murray made his first and only attempt at directing when
he co-helmed Quick Change with producer Howard Franklin. 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 (besides Kingpin, in which he played a supporting
role), he received much critical acclaim for Wes Anderson's Rushmore for
which he won a slew of awards. Murray then experienced a resurgence in
his career as a dramatic actor. After dramatic roles in Wild Things,
Cradle Will Rock, and Hamlet (as Polonius), and a comedic role in Wes
Anderson's The Royal Tenenbaums, he garnered considerable acclaim for
the 2003 film Lost in Translation. He received a Golden Globe Award and
a BAFTA award, as well as a nomination for the Academy Award for Best
Actor. In an interview included on the Lost in Translation DVD, Murray
states that this is his favorite movie in which he has appeared.
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 marked his
third collaboration with Wes Anderson in The Life Aquatic with Steve
Zissou. Murray also garnered acclaim for his dramatic role in Jim
Jarmusch's Broken Flowers.
In 2005, he announced that he would take a
break from acting, as he had not had the time since his new breakthrough
in the late-1990s. His last film role to date is Garfield's voice in the
sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties.
Murray wed Margaret Kelly in 1980. They had
two sons, Homer (born 1982) and Luke (born 1985) before divorcing in
1994. In 1997, he married Jennifer Butler. They have 4 children
together: Jackson (born 1993), Cal (born 1995), Cooper (born 1996), and
Lincoln (born 2001).
He is a partner with his brothers in Murray
Bros. Caddy Shack, a restaurant chain with locations near Jacksonville
and in Myrtle Beach and St. Augustine. 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.
He is a part-owner of the St. Paul Saints
independent minor-league baseball team and occasionally travels to Saint
Paul, Minnesota to watch the team's games.
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 which 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 and Willy Wonka in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory.
Murray has homes in Los Angeles, Charleston, SC, and upstate New York.
During the 2000 presidential campaign,
Murray stumped for Green Party candidate Ralph Nader.
Murray is a huge fan of Chicago pro sports
teams, especially the Chicago Cubs. He also is a huge Michael Jordan
fan, and has made cameo appearances in Space Jam and Jordan
documentaries. He also appeared cheering courtside for the Illinois
Fighting Illini's game versus the University of North Carolina in the
NCAA Basketball Tournament's championship game in 2005.
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Height: 6'1" (1.85 meters)
Lorenzo Music voiced Murray's character,
Venkman, in The Real Ghostbusters cartoon series. Music is best-known
for voicing Garfield the cat in various cartoon series. Murray would go
on to be the voice of Garfield in the 2004 film and 2006 film.
Murray is said to have a policy of not
doing a third version of anything, which is one of the reasons
Ghostbusters III has been reported to be in development hell.
He refused the rights to use his facial
likeness to collectible manufacturer NECA, which was forced to cancel
plans of producing a highly anticipated Ghostbusters action figure line
in 2004. A highly detailed, customized figure of Murray featuring
spot-on likeness was even mailed to him in attempt to express his
passionate fanbase and change his mind, but the plea was virtually
There's a B-Side to the single "Feel Good
Inc." by the fictional band Gorillaz named "Bill Murray."
Murray is part owner of the Fort Myers
Miracle, a minor league baseball Class - A affiliate of the Minnesota
Twins, as well as the Hudson Valley Renegades, a minor league Class -
SSA Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Devil Rays. The Miracle and the Renegades
have honored their part owner by celebrating him in the form of a Bill
Murray bobblehead giveaway.
Murray is an avid golfer and frequently
plays in celebrity golf tournaments, where he is known for mugging to
the crowd. In 2006, Murray played in the Herbert Corey Leeds Tournament
at the historic Myopia Hunt Club in South Hamilton, Massachusetts.
Part owner of the Charleston RiverDogs, a
minor league baseball team in Charleston, South Carolina, where he now
lives (near Water Front Park).
He was named #1 Smartass on Comedy
Central's "List of the 51 Greatest Smartasses."
Appeared in an episode of American Choppers
on the Discovery Channel when the Teutuls did a Caddyshack-themed bike.
His ceremonial first pitch at Wrigley Field
went over the backstop.
Murray was played by Mather Zickel in the
2002 TV movie Gilda Radner: It's Always Something.
Tarzoon: Shame of the Jungle (1975) (voice
in English dubbed version)
Next Stop, Greenwich Village (1976)
All You Need Is Cash (1978) (cameo)
Fear and Loathing in Gonzovision (1978)
Mr. Mike's Mondo Video (1979)
Where the Buffalo Roam (1980)
The Missing Link (1980) (voice in English
Loose Shoes (1980)
Nothing Lasts Forever (1984)
The Razor's Edge (1984) (also screenwriter)
Little Shop of Horrors (1986)
She's Having a Baby (1988) (cameo)
Ghostbusters II (1989)
Quick Change (1990) (also director and
What About Bob? (1991)
Groundhog Day (1993)
Mad Dog and Glory (1993)
Ed Wood (1994)
Larger Than Life (1996)
Space Jam (1996)
The Man Who Knew Too Little (1997)
Wild Things (1998)
With Friends Like These... (1998)
Cradle Will Rock (1999)
Scout's Honor (1999) (short subject)
Michael Jordan to the Max (2000)
Charlie's Angels (2000)
Speaking of Sex (2001)
Osmosis Jones (2001)
The Royal Tenenbaums (2001)
Lost in Translation (2003); nomination for
Academy Award for Best Actor
Coffee and Cigarettes (2003)
This Old Cub (2004) (documentary)
Garfield: The Movie (2004) (voice)
The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004)
Broken Flowers (2005)
The Lost City (2005)
Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties (2006)
Ray Gun (2007)
Garfield The Third (2009)
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