Proof that Bill Murray Succeeded in Hollywood His Way

Audiences have adored Bill Murray over the years not only because of his comedic demeanor but simply because he has just been around. Throughout his career, he has approached every role with ease, and people love him for it. Let’s not forget he is also completely unpredictable, and audiences never know what to expect.

Bill Murray / Bill Murray / Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, Sofia Coppola / Bill Murray.
Source: Getty Images

Murray is not one of those glamorous celebrities you constantly see strutting down the red carpet or enjoying a costly dinner in Los Angeles. He can afford it; he just couldn’t care less about where he was last spotted. Let’s take a look at what makes him stick out among the crowd.

Murray Will Do as He Sees Fit

Some actors have a certain way of doing things or approaching their work, but for Murray, his motto is “I’ll do whatever the hell I want.” It’s not easy choosing the right acting gigs, and a lot of times, we become confined by the choice we make, as Murray has admitted.

Bill Murray attends an event.
Photo by John Phillips/Getty Images

Even when he hasn’t been portrayed in the best light, he still shows he’s on top of things with his carefree attitude. It’s not that hard-to-find dirt on the actor who has received backlash for being challenging to work with.

His Breakout Gig Was SNL

It wasn’t surprising that his comedic appeal led him to one of the funniest sketch-comedy TV shows. He joined the second season and went on to make some of the most memorable sketches, including the Lounge Singer and the sketch where he says, “cheeseburger, cheeseburger.”

Bill Murray performs on SNL.
Photo by Owen Franken/Corbis/Getty Images

From there, he was able to swiftly take on a role with Harold Ramis in ‘Meatballs,’ which came out in 1979. Together, they worked to create some of the best movies of the early ‘80s, including ‘Caddyshack,’ ‘Stripes, and ‘Tootsie.’ He was also the first guest on many of the first talk shows ever, including Late Night with David Letterman.

He is Pretty Hard-Working

Many have misjudged Murray for not working relentlessly because of the gaps between his movies, but he has his reasons. Yeah, he took a bit of a break to study philosophy at Sorbonne University, only to come back and appear in “Little Shop of Horrors.”

Bill Murray attends an SNL celebration.
Photo by Gary Gershoff/WireImage/Getty Images

He was not quite about retiring a couple of times between his projects. He realized that if he told people he was taking some downtime, no one would bug him. However, from “Wild Things” to “Rushmore,” Murray had made his career busier than ever.

Back in His College Days, He Got into Some Trouble

Acting wasn’t the first path Murray took. He took some pre-medical courses at Regis University in Denver after finishing high school. He wasn’t there for too long as he dropped out and went back to Illinois. He did have a run-in with the law when he was 20 years old.

A dated portrait of Bill Murray.
Photo by Art Zelin/Getty Images

He was arrested at the O’Hare airport in Chicago to sneak in ten pounds of marijuana that he was supposedly planning to sell. He outed himself by making a joke to a passenger sitting beside him that he was carrying a bomb, which was a bad move considering he was eventually arrested.

Murray Almost Drowned on the Job

Remember the movie ‘Where the Buffalo Roam’? It looks like even early on, Murray loved getting involved in shenanigans. When the movie was filmed, Murray and Hunter S. Thompson competed in a couple of not-so-safe contests. They spent some time enjoying drinks at Thompsons’ home in Colorado.

A portrait of Bill Murray in Where the Buffalo Roam.
Source: Copyright: Universal Pictures

They babbled on about who was the better, Houdini. It looks like they took it a little too far because Thompson ended up tying Murray to a chair and tossing him into the swimming pool. If he hadn’t pulled him out on time, he might have drowned.

Why Not Do Things Differently?

It’s no surprise that Murray doesn’t work like every single other actor in Hollywood. This is mainly because he doesn’t have an agent to book his roles or a publicist to speak on his behalf.

A picture of Bill Murray.
Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images

He does have an 800 number that people call to offer him potential roles, though. Usually, the messages are about movies for him to possibly play in. If he’s interested in the project, he’ll call back; otherwise, he doesn’t like to waste his time.

Murray Filmed Caddyshack in Six Days

He came full circle when he filmed Caddyshack, because he, as a young golf fan, was a caddy himself. He also oversaw a hot dog stand at the Indian Hill Country Club that inspired the location for the movie.

Cindy Morgan and Bill Murray nestled behind a tree in a scene from the film.
Photo by Orion Pictures/Getty Images

His role in the movie wasn’t intended to be significant. However, the movie makers found him to be so hilarious that he ended up staying and filming for a total of six days. Not to mention he improvised all his lines, including the Dalai Lama Speech.

He Has a Diverse Family

Murray isn’t the only talented member of his family. Murray is one of eight siblings who grew up in a Roman Catholic Irish American home. Three of his brothers, John, Joel, and Brian Doyle, have also decided to become actors.

A portrait of Sister Nancy Murray.
Photo by Fairfax Media/Getty Images/Getty Images

However, his sister, Nancy, went in a different direction while still holding on to some family talent. In Michigan, she became an Adrian Dominican nun who enjoys putting on a one-woman show, portraying St. Catherine of Siena and Dorothy Stang.

Giving Up a Legendary Role and Breaking a Famous Nose

Thinking back, it looks like Murray could have portrayed the character of Forest Gump that he was offered, but Tom Hanks ended up winning the Oscar for his portrayal. When speaking to Howard Stern, he shared, “I did have conversations. I think I had the original book and all that sort of stuff.”

Bill Murray and Robert De Niro in Mad Dog and Glory.
Source: Copyright: Universal Pictures

However, a year earlier, he starred along with Robert De Niro in the American crime comedy-drama ‘Mad Dog and Glory. While filming a fight scene, Murray ended up accidentally breaking Robert De Niro’s nose. It looks like he took that scene a little too seriously; hopefully, De Nero had insurance.

He Mistakenly Agreed to Play in Garfield

The writer for the hilarious feline film was written by Joel Cohen. It turns out that Murray only agreed to do the movie because he thought it was made by one of the Coen brothers. He didn’t get paid much for the movie either; $50,000 in total.

Bill Murray attends an event.
Photo by George Pimentel/WireImage/Getty Images

He remembered reading the script and thought he noticed Joel Coen’s name in the script: “And I thought: Christ well I love those Coens! They’re funny.” He continued reading the script and misread and decided to do the movie. Either way, it turned out hilarious.

The Drunk Swedish Golf Cart Fiasco

Murray has had a few run-ins with the law, and he doesn’t seem to be ashamed of it. One time, he was pulled over by police in Stockholm for driving drunk in a golf cart all over town. He shared that the police assumed he was drunk, but he told them that he was simply a golfer.

A dated headshot of Bill Murray.
Photo by George Rose/Getty Images

He just so happened to be driving six other people in the golf cart, dropping them off at their requested destinations, including a 7-Eleven. Who knew there was a 7-Eleven in Sweden? Murray certainly didn’t.

He Made a Movie Without Signing a Contract

It took a simple phone call with Sofia Coppola to get Murray to do “Lost in Translation.” He had previously collaborated with the movie’s director Wes Anderson in Rushmore, so he didn’t think twice. The pair (Anderson and Murray) would go on to make eight more movies together.

Scarlett Johansson, Bill Murray, and Sofia Coppola during the film premiere.
Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

It didn’t look like Murray even cared about the money. I mean, he took a $9,000 salary and handed over $25,000 back to his fellow director to film the last helicopter scene in the movie. The production company wasn’t eager to pay for it, so he did.

An Actor and a Bartender

Whatever the situation, Murray has to get in on the action. He attended the South by Southwest festival at Shangri-La in Austin, Texas. A bartender attending the festival, representing San Francisco’s fine rum bar, caught Bill Murray getting behind the bar and serving people drinks.

A portrait of Bill Murray.
Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

The funniest thing is that he only served them shots of tequila and whiskey no matter what people requested. So, he’s not a bartender, but he sure made a bunch of hipsters happy and added some fun to the mix.

The Funniest Movie at the Time

According to Murray, he once said that the funniest movie ever made was Kung Fu Hustle. This was back in 2010, so maybe things have changed since then. Regardless, he called it “the supreme achievement of the modern age in terms of comedy.”

Stephen Chow makes a kung-fu pose for the press.
Photo by Sylvain Gaboury/FilmMagic/Getty Images

He went as far as to share with GQ magazine that American comedy should have been mourning when the movie came out. I mean, everyone is entitled to their opinions, but Murray isn’t afraid to share his, as we know. Maybe he has changed his mind since?

The Supposed Expert on Marriage

Who knows how he ended up there, but it comes as no surprise that Murray found himself giving a speech at a bachelor’s party in Charleston, South Carolina. One of the future groom’s friends went up to Murray and asked him to share some words of wisdom.

Bill Murray is giving the thumbs up to the audience.
Photo by Randall Michelson/WireImage/Getty Images

He declined only to return a few minutes later to give a full speech. You would think he might wish the guy getting married good luck, but what he said was, “You know, they say funerals aren’t for the dead but the living?”

Murray Kindly “Did” as He Was Asked

Murray has always been a one-person show. Even when producers of “Groundhog Day” begged him to get an assistant to improve the communication between the studio and the actor, he did so, but in his way. He hired a deaf-mute assistant who knew American Sign Language.

Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell in a scene from the film.
Photo by Columbia Pictures/Getty Images

Murray shared that he was going to learn sign language. He was truly original this time in rebelling against the request as opposed to simply saying no. Perhaps it was his way of teaching them a lesson.

Bill “The Murricane” Murray

The actor has certainly had his fair share of feuds and has been known to have abrupt mood swings. Some people have referred to him as being challenging to work with. Murray said he only took issues with people he didn’t enjoy working with in addressing this issue.

A portrait of Bill Murray.
Photo by Munawar Hosain/Getty Images

“Jim, Wes, and Sofia; they know what it is to work, and they understand how you’re supposed to treat people,” said Murray. It looks like his behavior didn’t just create a reputation; he got into a few brawls over the years.

He’s Got Quite the Personality

Murray came back to guest host Saturday Night Live in 1978, and he got into it with Chevy Chase. The story goes that the two started throwing insults back and forth, with Murray telling Chase that he should have sex with his wife, Jacqueline Carline. Chase told him he looked “like something Neil Armstrong landed on.”

Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Chevy Chase attend an event.
Photo by Leon Bennett/WireImage/Getty Images

Things quickly escalated into a full-blown fight that was described to be difficult and painful to see. Murray called the incident an “Oedipal Thing, a rupture.” The two ended up working things out and made ‘Caddyshack’ together.

Richard Dreyfuss Battles a Drunk Murray

The two actors worked together on “What About Bob?” in 1991. Dreyfuss referred to Murray as a drunk bully, and according to Dreyfuss, things blew out of proportion after asking Murray to review a small change in the script.

Bill Murray and Richard Dreyfuss in What About Bob.
Source: Copyright: Touchstone Pictures

It was then that Murray got right up in his face and told him that everyone hated him. He then took to throwing a glass ashtray at his face but ended up missing. He tried hitting him again, and Dreyfuss ended up leaving the set.

He Didn’t Like One of Charlie’s Angels

While making Charlie’s Angels,” Murray didn’t take a liking to one of the actresses who played an angel: Lucy Liu. The actress referred to the language that Murray used as “inexcusable and unacceptable.” Liu wasn’t just going to sit there and take it.

A picture of Bill Murray and Lucy Liu.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc/Getty Images

She stood up for herself out of pride and self-respect. When later asked about the incident, Murray shared that he does not respect people he deems unprofessional. Things seemed to have calmed down since, and the two ended up being civil with one another.

It Didn’t End Just with an Actress

It looks like Lucy Liu wasn’t the only one that Murray had a problem with. The movie director Joseph McGinty Nichol claimed that Murray went as far as headbutting him on set. The director shared details of what happened…

Joseph McGinty Nichol attends an event.
Photo by L. Cohen/WireImage/Getty Images

“An inch later, and my nose would have been obliterated.” Murray denied the accusations and flat out said it wasn’t true. He said that the story was completely fabricated. He felt as though the director’s imagination had gone above and beyond reality.

Angelica Huston Wasn’t Going to Fall for It

It all happened on the set of “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” The entire cast went out to dinner at the hotel they stayed at, but Huston was left out. Once everyone noticed her arrival, they decided they didn’t want to go.

Bill Murray and Angelica Huston attend the film premiere.
Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/WireImage/Getty Images

She shared that the whole ordeal hurt her. “And then I think we met again in Florence because that movie was shot all over Italy.” She recalled that Murray said he missed her, and she didn’t believe him by saying that he was “full of sh**.”

From Making Amazing Movies to Ending Their Relationship

Setting all jokes aside, Harold Ramis and Bill Murray have created some of the most iconic movies of all time during the ’70s and ’80s, including “Meatballs” and “Ghostbusters.” Regardless of their success, their relationship went downhill after the making of “Groundhog Day.”

Bill Murray and Harold Ramis in a still from Ghost Busters.
Photo by Columbia Pictures/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis/Getty Images

Murray turned out to be difficult to work with, constantly arguing and displaying unprofessional behavior. Ramis recalled, “At times, Bill was just really irrationally mean and unavailable; he was constantly late-onset. What I’d want to say to him is just what we tell our children.”

Were Ramis and Murray Able to Mend Things Over?

Their creative differences got so bad that Ramis grabbed Murray’s collar and threw him against the wall one time. The feud lasted a long time, 20 years. Ramis’s daughter, Violet Ramis Stiel, shared that her dad tried to be as diplomatic and civil as possible about it.

Harold Ramis attends an event.
Photo by Barry Brecheisen/WireImage/Getty Images

Murray did try to make amends one morning not long before Ramis passed away. He arrived with a box of donuts, and police officers escorted him. They didn’t talk about the fights of the past. It turned out to be a calm visit filled with laughter.

What Does Murray Have to Say About it?

Opinions of the actor have gone both ways. He is either the hilarious and bizarre character who will always surprise you, or he is simply known as one of the most difficult actors to work with.

A photo of Bill Murray.
Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images

Some people have called him “irrationally mean” and have been stricken by one or two insults over the years, yet he still managed to make some of the best movies in history. It is interesting to see what he thinks about the reputation he has built for himself.

His Views in the Acting World

Murray shared, “People think because they employed you they’re allowed to treat you like a dictator, or whatever the worse word for a dictator is.” In his view, it’s important to be treated with respect anywhere he goes, even if it means speaking his mind.

Timothee Chalamet, Wes Anderson, Tilda Swinton, and Bill Murray attend an event.
Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

He also has openly talked about feeling comfortable and removing the filter instead of other celebrities pretending to have the most incredible life. In his eyes, he is as real as can be, and that’s just the way he likes it.

Progressing Through His Career

Murray, who is now 71 years old, has felt like he has always been the same guy while people around him have shifted. Even though he has been viewed as horrendous to work with, it could have been when he was playing funny yet specific characters.

Bill Murray attends an event.
Photo by Samir Hussein/WireImage/Getty Images

His more recent roles have steered away from comedy toward more dramatic portrayals. Murray is noted for adding very subtle embellishments to his acting, including raising his eyebrows when trying to be sarcastic or pausing for dramatic effect.

First Work, Then Marriage

For Murray, it seems like acting was always a priority over his love life. However, during the filming of “Stripes” in 1981, Murray married Margaret Kelly in a Las Vegas Chapel. They later went back to Chicago for an official ceremony with their families.

A portrait of Bill Murray.
Photo by Luca Ghidoni/Getty Images

The couple had two sons together. His marriage eventually fell apart as he had an affair with Jennifer Butler, a costume designer. His marriage of 15 years ended, and the couple divorced. Murray’s love life would soon face some drama.

He Got Married a Second Time

Murray ended up marrying Butler a year later, in 1996. The couple was together for 11 years and had four kids together. He was now a father to six kids, and it looks like his most recent marriage was heading in the right direction.

Jennifer Butler and Murray attend an event.
Photo by J. Vespa/WireImage/Getty Images

Ultimately, his second marriage also ended after Butler shared that Murray allegedly abused her. Murray would leave unannounced to travel abroad and engage in infidelity and private excursions with other women.

What Did Butler Have to Say?

Butler shared that Murray hit her in the face and said that she was “lucky he didn’t kill her.” It wasn’t long after she reported the abuse that the two divorced. Early on, Murray was rumored to have had a relationship with his SNL co-star, Gilda Radner.

A photo of Murray and Butler during an event.
Photo by Chris Polk/FilmMagic/Getty Images

This was before he was married, though. He cherished her as someone he laughed with and had a good relationship with. As for his current relationships, it doesn’t look like Murray is exclusively seeing anyone these days and has embraced being single.

His Work Outside the Industry

Murray took inspiration from his youth and the movie he made to co-create the Caddy Shack restaurants he runs with his brother. The first one is in the World Golf Village next to St. Augustine, Florida, which opened in 2001.

A picture of Bill Murray.
Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images

The second is in Crown Plaza Rosemont Hotel next to O’Hare international airport, which was opened over a decade later in 2018. Among running a few businesses, he also seems to be a participating community member in his current hometown Charleston, South Carolina.

Proud to be from Chicago

Murray took part in the Chicago Air and Water Show during its 50th anniversary in 2008 with the US Army Parachute Team. He took part in a tandem jump with the team otherwise known as the Golden Knights. It looks like he is always eager to entertain, but this time it was for a good cause.

Bill Murray poses for photos upon completing his skydiving tandem.
Photo by Raymond Boyd/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

He appeared as the MC three times for the Eric Clapton Crossroads Guitar Festival, which helps fund a drug treatment center in Antigua. Eric Clapton picks various guitar players to perform at the show.

He is a Massive Chicago Sports Fan

Among his favorite Chicago sports teams are the Cubs, the Bears, and the Bulls. During the ‘80s, he sometimes appeared as a guest commentator for the Cubs. He attended the seventh game of the World Series in 2016, where the Cubs became champions.

Bill Murray sings during the seventh inning of a game.
Photo by Nuccio DiNuzzo/Getty Images

Murray can’t be missed at many games. He once went to Florida to “cheer” on the Cubs during the playoffs. Essentially, he put his funny hat on and tried to convince one of the players, Aramis Ramirez, that running two home runs would give him the strength to overcome an illness.

He Was Awarded for Being a Fan

Murray has been featured in a documentary about the baseball Cubs, called ‘“This Old Cub.” His years of attendance and open recognition as a fan have earned him the Hilda Award given every year to a distinguished honoree.

Bill Murray runs the bases in a baseball yard.
Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images

The award was put in place “to recognize distinguished service to the game by a fan.” He showed off some singing skills at the 2016 World Series by singing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”

He Has His Own Baseball Teams

Murray’s love for the game has geared him towards taking ownership in several teams. He has taken partial ownership in a Minor League Baseball team called the St. Paul Saints under the Triple-A East league.

A photo of Bill Murray during a game.
Photo by Frank Jansky/Icon Sportswire/Getty Images

He is also an affiliate of another one of the league’s teams, the Minnesota Twins. He cares a lot about the teams as he sometimes travels to Minnesota to watch them play. Other teams, he has contributed to include the Charleston RiverDogs, the Hudson Valley Renegades, and the Brockton Rox.

Too Many to Count

Throughout his tremendous career, Murray has gathered some prestigious awards and nominations. In 2004, he was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actor in Lost in Translation. He won a British Academy Film Award for Best Actor in a leading role in 2004 as well.

An image of Murray receiving an award on stage.
Photo by Ernesto S. Ruscio/Getty Images

He holds nine Golden Globe awards nominations with one win in various genres, such as Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor in ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Rushmore’, ‘Hyde Parkon Hudson’, ‘St. Vincent’, ‘Olive Kitteridge’, ‘On the Rocks’, and ‘Lost in Translation’.

Murray is an Icon

The actor is regarded as quite the symbol in American culture. His kooky style and persona, and his comedic appeal have turned him into a “folk hero” for many people. The public has also appreciated his lack of affiliation with the Hollywood lifestyle.

A movie still of Bill Murray as Steve Zissou.
Source: Copyright: Touchstone Pictures

His popularity has been seen all over the internet and in books through meme references. In 2016, the Kennedy Center awarded him the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. To the average person, he is iconic on and off-screen.

Always Down for a Good Party

He was 56 years old when he attended a celebrity golf event in St. Andrews, Scotland. He was having a drink when he met a 22-year-old Norwegian student who invited him to go to a party crowded with Scandinavians.

Bill Murray attends an event.
Photo by JB Lacroix/WireImage/Getty Images

What a surprise it must have been to have Bill Murray show up! The student who invited him remarked, “Nobody could believe it when I arrived at the party with Bill Murray.” He drank, he partied, but he ended up being a nice guest who stayed and helped do the dishes.

He Was Willing to Work for Asian Food

Besides his comedy, Murray is recognized for being in some of the most bizarre and hilarious situations. One time, at the Atlanta Airport, he applied for a job at P.F Chang’s simply because he loved the food.

A portrait of Bill Murray.
Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic/Getty Images

He shared, “It looks like they are having the best time working at P.F Chang’s.” So maybe he didn’t get hired by the restaurant’s manager, but social media was more than happy to give him the job: “Bill, you’re hired! When can you start?”

Crashing a White House Press Conference

He showed up at the White House but not to give his comments on President Barack Obama. First, he came to pick up his Mark Twain Prize, and second, he answered questions from the press about how he thought the Chicago Cubs were doing.

Bill Murray attends an event.
Photo by Marc Piasecki/FilmMagic/Getty Images

The press conference took place in the White House briefing room and can be viewed on YouTube through NBC News. The media played along and even addressed Murray as Mr. President. Considering the Cubs were doing well that year, he should emphasize why they deserved to beat LA.

He Was a Poet and Didn’t Know It

In 2009, Poets House was being constructed when Murray took the time to deliver some deep readings of some of his favorite poetic lines to the workers. He certainly gave it that Murray touch with his subtle smile as he went on to do three readings.

A portrait of Bill Murray.
Photo by Vera Anderson/WireImage/Getty Images

His first reading was “Another Reason I Don’t Keep a Gun in the House” by Billy Collins, followed by “Poets Work,” a short-form piece by Lorine Niedecker’s. And lastly, he finished off with a classic, “Emily Dickinson.” It looks like the crowd enjoyed his poetic reading skills.

Murray Crashed a Couple’s Photoshoot

One Charleston’s average future couple, Ashley and Erik, were just taking some pictures to commemorate their engagement. However, their photographer couldn’t get a decent picture initially because they were too distracted by Murray’s appearance across the street.

Bill Murray poses with the couple.
Source: Fia Forever Photography

The photographer turned around to tell whoever it was to stop distracting the couple when she realized it was Murray. She quickly invited him to join the couple for a picture, and the pair will forever remember that day probably for meeting Bill Murray than their actual engagement.

Give Me Back My Fries

This is probably one of the funniest encounters Murray is known for. In 2010, a tourist was just minding his own business eating his french fries and taking in the industrial scenery of Times Square when he noticed someone stealing some of his fries.

A photo of Bill Murray.
Photo by Jeffrey Ufberg/WireImage/Getty Images

As he turned around to tell the guy off, he realized it was Bill Murray. Before vanishing completely, the comedic actor quickly turned and said, “No one will believe you,” before vanishing completely. He was probably right; most people would probably not have believed it so that he could get away with it.

Murray is a Good Host

By now, we are familiar with Murray’s reputation for doing random and unexpected things, including showing up on people’s holiday cards. Murray has also been credited for knowing how to throw a good Christmas Party.

Bill Murray hosts on stage during an award ceremony.
Photo by Tom Dulat/Getty Images

At his parties, he likes to include an ice luge. He says it is useful because it helps keep the alcohol cold and ready for the party. It resembles an Olympic ski jump and is added to the party for dramatic effect even though its use is practical and, honestly, just fun.

In the Heat of the Night Grappled with Hard Hitting Issues

Welcome Back, Kotter: What We Never Knew Back Then

The Set of Mork & Mindy Was Out of This World

The Stars of Dallas: Where Are They Now?

From Les to Sandy: Where’s WKRP’s Cast Now?

The Life of Richard Dawson, The Kissing Bandit