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September 21 should be World Comedian’s Day: it is the date on which Bill Murray was born, who today is turning 70 years old. A good excuse to review the biography of one of the best comedians in the history of cinema, who had a life abundant in creativity but also in excesses and eccentricities.
William James Murray was born in Wilmette, Illinois (United States) into a humble family. Bill was one of nine children of a postal worker and a merchant: to pay for school the boys had to work as caddies at a golf club. Perhaps that is why the actor has been an excellent golfer, with participation in professional competitions.
Among his brothers there are three other actors (John Murray, Joel Murray and Brian Doyle-Murray) and also an actress nun, Sr. Nancy, who entered the Dominican order in 1966 and spent several years traveling in different countries (Philippines, Vietnam, Peru , Italy) interpreting Saint Catherine of Siena.
Raised in Irish Catholicism, his childhood in a large family marked him to the point of repeating history. He had no less than six children with his two stable partners. Two with his first wife, Margaret Kelly, with whom he was married between 1981 and 1996, until he was unfaithful to Jennifer Butler. He then married his lover, whom he was married to for eleven years, between 1997 and 2008, and they had four children.
The second divorce was otherwise conflictive. In the lawsuit, Butler explained that he was calling for an end to the marriage “due to the defendant’s adultery, his addiction to marijuana and alcohol, his conduct and physical abuse, his addiction to sex and frequent abandonment“In addition, her lawyer argued that Murray’s” violent, abusive and erratic “conduct towards her” destroyed the marital relationship between both parties, “and assured that the woman” did not feel safe “in the presence of her ex-husband.
The list of anecdotes surrounding Bill Murray is endless. In the book How to be Bill Murray, released in 2014, writer Gavin Edwards describes him as fun and unpredictable. Apparently, at one time he used to steal French fries from strangers in restaurants. When they grabbed him, he told them: “No one is going to believe you when you tell it.”
Once when I was 20 years old He was detained at the Chicago airport with five kilos of marijuana: he was discovered because he jokingly told another passenger that he was carrying a bomb in his luggage. On another occasion, she snuck into a Scottish student party: since she hadn’t brought anything to drink, she stayed until dawn washing the dishes.
It is also said that he is fond of bullfights and religiously participating in the bullfights of San Fermín, in Pamplona. In that Spanish city several urban legends related to the actor circulate: that they saw him thrown in a portal clinging to a bottle of the famous Soberano brandy, or running in front of the bulls, or partying in full drunkenness through the streets of the Navarrese capital.
Anyway, Murray became a pop icon from his performances marked by style deadpan, that is, the name Anglo-Saxons give to poker-faced humor. Her presence enhanced each of the films in which she participated, riding on her face between sad and resigned, her cadence when she spoke and her attitude cool in the craziest situations.
During adolescence he had a rock band, Dutch Masters, while participating in high school theater courses. When she finished, however, she tried medicine, but promptly dropped out. Then one of his brothers, Brian, invited him to join The Second City, a Chicago-based improv comedy group.
He soon moved to New York, where John Belushi recruited him to The National Lampoon Radio Hour troupe, an institution of American comedy. He soon rose to prominence and in 1977 he joined the second season of that hotbed of comedians called Saturday Night Live, where he remained until 1980.
His film debut was in Meatballs (1979, Ivan Reitman) which would be followed by films that marked the childhood and adolescence of an entire generation of Americans, such as The madmen of golf (from Harold Ramis) or The Nutty Squad (from Reitman himself). Soon, also by Reitman’s hand, he would be part of one that catapulted him to world fame: Ghostbusters (1984).
At that moment, At the peak of his fame, he took a two-year hiatus to study philosophy and history at the Sorbonne. A gesture that clearly shows that he is not just another actor from the crowd: the man has his personality. For better and for worse: he is known for his sudden mood swings. To the point that Dan Aykroyd, one of his colleagues in Ghostbusters, nicknamed him “Murricane”, making a pun between his last name and “hurricane.”
“A friend once told me ‘you have a reputation.’ And I said ‘what?’ And he said, ‘yes, you have a reputation for being difficult at work.’ But I only have that reputation of people I didn’t like to work with, or people who didn’t know how to work, or what work is ”, he defended himself in an interview, justifying his irascibility.
He had run-ins with numerous colleagues or directors, including Chevy Chase, Sean Young, Richard Donner, Richard Dreyfuss, Harold Ramis, Anjelica Huston, and even Scarlett Johansson. It is said that during the filming of Charlie’s Angels, Lucy Liu punched her three times in the face after Murray told her she didn’t know how to act.
He also had conflicts during one of his best films, Time spell (1993): affected by his marital problems, during filming he behaved almost more rude and moody than his character. Either way, the result is a masterpiece and his performance is brilliant.
In that decade, more precisely in 1998, he began his working relationship with Wes Anderson, with a role in Rushmore, the second film by the now established director. Unforgettable films such as The eccentrics Tenenbaum, Aquatic life and El gran hotel in Budapest, in addition to voices in the animated Isle of dogs and The fantastic Mr. Fox.
Other notable titles of his filmography are A woman for twoby John McNaughton, alongside Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman; Broken flowersby Jim Jarmusch; And till Zombieland, where he made himself. But his favorite title of all the ones he starred in is Lost in Tokyo (2003, by Sofia Coppola) for which she received her first and so far only Oscar nomination (she lost it to Sean Penn in Mystical river).
This career transformed him into an icon: there are people who make dollars with their faces. As a good myth, the anecdotes around him multiply: it is also said that he got lost in the Balinese jungle and that he hired a deaf-mute assistant while filming Time spell.
It is known that at a point in his career he decided to fire his representative and arrange for those who wanted to work with him to leave their proposals on an answering machine. Thus he became the closest thing to a mythological figure there is in Hollywood.
He hardly ever attends events, barely gives interviews, and has no agent, manager, or publicist. Even his fetish directors like Wes Anderson or Sofia Coppola have to get in touch with him through that answering machine. You may or may not hear the message. When he calls back, he asks to have the script faxed to a hardware store. Thus he missed roles that he would have liked to do, as in Who cheated on roger rabbit?