was born on September 21, 1950. The fifth of nine children, Bill and his brothers spent their youth working as caddies at the local golf course. It was during this time that the Murray brothers developed their life long love of golf. During his early twenties he fell in with the wrong crowd and developed a nasty drug habit. After his release from jail for possession of marijuana, Bill decided to ditch the drugs and pursue comedy (as his brother Brian
had done). It paid off. After a stint with Second City
, Bill auditioned for Saturday Night Live
. He joined the cast and became a smash hit.
One of Bill's most memorable bits on SNL was as a pitchman for a new kind of bottled water called Swill. Swill was bottled in America, dredged from the bottom of Lake Erie. It didn't flow, it oozed. He also performed a series of comedy routines with Steve Martin, including "The Pick Pocket" and "Crackers".
After several years on SNL Hollywood called. His first major role was in Caddyshack as Carl Spackler, the unusual groundskeeper. SEE: gopher The "Cinderella story" segment and monologue were ad-libbed by Bill on the set. Bill's next major role was as John Winger in Stripes. Here he teamed with Harold Ramis, John Candy, and John Larroquette in a comedy about two losers who enlist in the army and the chaos they cause during basic training and their first assignment.
Bill Murray's biggest hit up to this point was 1984's Ghostbusters. Bill played Dr. Peter Venkman and was teamed again with Harold Ramis and Dan Aykroyd (from his SNL days). On the Ghostbusters DVD director Ivan Reitman reveals that the majority of dialogue in this movie was ad-libbed by the cast, and most of those ad-libs came from Bill. SEE: "He slimed me."
Bill had a cameo in 1986's Little Shop Of Horrors as the masochistic dental patient. This role would be the only time thus far (not counting the SNL skits) that he would work with Steve Martin onscreen. Martin played the demented dentist Dr. Orin Scrivello. Watch and enjoy as Bill hams it up and ad-libs his entire scene with Steve.
1988's Scrooged saw Bill as greedy TV executive Frank Cross in this remake/update of the Charles Dickens classic A Christmas Carol. Bill was unhappy while working on this movie because roughly 95% of it took place on soundstages and sets where he felt he was unable to be open and wild. Plus, since the story was based on a classic tale, he was also unable to ad-lib as much as he had wanted. Nevertheless, he pulled through and made another memorable character come to life.
Ghostbusters II was released in 1989 and is, to date, the only sequel that Bill has made. All of the original cast and crew from the first film returned for the sequel, and once again Bill ad-libbed most of his scenes. Bill has said in recent years that if Ghostbusters III is ever made he has no interest in being a part of it (rumors had pegged him as wanting to play the ghost of Peter Venkman, however these later proved to be incorrect).
In 1990 Bill directed and starred in Quick Change as Grimm, a bank robber out to rob a bank and get out of town. Bill ad-libbed most of his scenes again in this one, and it shows - Bill is the only consistently entertaining actor in this movie. It's worth seeing just for his performance. Geena Davis and Randy Quaid round out the cast. In 1991 Bill starred as Bob Wiley in What About Bob?. This film was a Buena Vista production, and as such Bill was forced to tone down his ad-libs to maintain the film's PG rating that the studio was aiming for. The chemistry between Bill and co-star Richard Dreyfuss is really something to see.
Groundhog Day was released in 1993 and is arguably one of Bill's best performances. As weatherman Phil Connors Bill once again ad-libbed most of the script. Former co-star Harold Ramis directed the film.
Bill had a small role in 1996's Kingpin as bowling champ Ernie McCracken. Bill's character was the one responsible for crippling Woody Harrelson's character, Roy Munson. Bill turned up again in 1996 in Larger Than Life. Critics and audiences alike panned this movie and Bill's performance as Jack Corcoran, the motivational speaker turned elephant owner. This film has been airing on Animal Planet if you've wanted to check it out without paying the rental fee. Another 1996 appearance was a cameo in Space Jam where he played himself. Co-stars include Bugs Bunny, Michael Jordan, and Wayne Knight.
In 1997 Bill starred in The Man Who Knew Too Little, a spy film (once again almost ad-libbed extensively) in which Bill's character Wallace Ritchie is a secret agent, but is totally unaware of that fact. This film is an underrated gem, in my opinion.
In 1998 Bill appeared as Kenneth Bowden in Wild Things. I believe this is Bill's first appearance in a non-comedy since the early 1980s. He also had a significant role in Rushmore around this time. In 2000 Charlie's Angels featured Bill as John Bosley. He has declined to return in the sequel, however.
Osmosis Jones was released in 2001 and featured Bill as Frank. A combination of live action sequences and animation, Bill's character was the main focus in the live action segments. Animated characters voiced by Chris Rock and David Hyde-Pierce were featured in the animation. 2001 also saw Bill in The Royal Tenenbaums in a small role.
In 2002 Bill and his golfing brothers starred in The Sweet Spot, a golfing mini-series for Comedy Central. The series came about as a result of the venture where Bill spends most of his free time these days: a golf-themed restaurant called Caddyshack, bringing his career nearly full circle. 2003 saw him in a departure from his usual roles in Lost In Translation. In 2004 he potrayed the voice of Garfield the cat in the film version of - that's right - Garfield and went back to his "serious" roots in Wes Andersen's The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou as oceanographer Zissou.
I have not listed plot details or explanations for each film in this writeup. That's what the film nodes are for. Information came from the imdb and various director's commentaries on DVDs.