William James "Bill" Murray (born September 21, 1950) is an American actor and comedian. He first gained national exposure on Saturday Night Live in which he earned an Emmy Award and later went on to star in a number of critically and commercially successful comedic films, including Caddyshack (1980), Ghostbusters (1984), and Groundhog Day (1993). Murray gained additional critical acclaim later in his career, starring in Lost in Translation (2003), that gave him an Academy Award for Best Actor nomination, and a series of films directed by Wes Anderson, including Rushmore (1998), The Royal Tenenbaums (2001) and The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou (2004).
With an invitation from his older brother, Brian, Murray got his start at Second City Chicago, an improvisational comedy troupe, studying under Del Close. In 1974, he moved to New York City 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 Angeles 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.
A Rutland Weekend Television sketch Eric Idle brought for his appearance on SNL developed into the 1978 mockumentary All You Need Is Cash with Murray (alongside other SNL cast members) appearing as "Bill Murray the K", a send-up of New York radio host Murray the K, in a segment of the film that is an obvious parody of the Maysles Brothers's documentary The Beatles: The First U.S. Visit.
During the first few seasons of SNL, Murray was in a serious, romantic relationship with fellow cast member Gilda Radner.
Murray at the 2010 Toronto International Film Festival
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. On January 31, 2012 - 30 years after his first appearance with Letterman, Murray appeared again on his talk show.
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 Sorbonne, frequent the Cinematheque 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 Manhattan organized by playwright/director Timothy Mayer and in a production of Bertolt Brecht's A Man's A 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 (one of the exceptions being his role in the 1996 comedy Kingpin), he received much critical acclaim for Wes Anderson's Rushmore for which he won Best Supporting Actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (tying with Billy Bob Thornton). Murray decided to take a turn towards more dramatic roles. Murray then experienced a resurgence in his career as a dramatic actor, taking on roles in Wild Things, Cradle Will Rock, Hamlet (as Polonius), and The Royal Tenenbaums.
In 2003, he garnered considerable acclaim for Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation, and went on to earn a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, as well as Best Actor awards from a number of film critic organizations. He was considered a favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, although Sean Penn ultimately won the award for his performance in Mystic River. 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. 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 to relax 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 zombie comedy Zombieland.
Murray provided the voice for the character Mr. Badger for the 2009 animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox. Though there was speculation that he might return to the Ghostbusters franchise for the rumored Ghostbusters 3, he dispelled such speculation in a recent interview with GQ. In March 2010, Bill Murray appeared on Late Show with David Letterman and talked about his return to Ghostbusters III, stating "I'd do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel". In an interview with Coming Soon, Murray said: "You know, maybe I should just do it. Maybe it'd be fun to do." In the interview, when asked "Is the third Ghostbusters movie happening? What's the story with that?", Bill Murray replied, "It's all a bunch of crock." Despite this comment, later reports by Dan Aykroyd and Stefano Paginini suggest the movie is well underway, and the script has already been approved.