MOTW: Bill Murray: A Biography to be Proud Of

Photo Credit: Columbia Pictures
January 16th, 2014

Bill Murray is best known to the world as one of the foremost comedic actors of his time with many awards and honors under his belt due to his work on screen. His unique charm outside of the acting world makes him one of the most alluring people covered in the media. Murray's dozens of award nominations for his work in television and film cover a range of talents from comedic acting and writing to his work as a leading man. He has great comedic timing on stage, but his hued life and interactions with the public make this comedic icon fun to read about.

Bill Murray started his acting career after dropping out of college following an arrest for drugs which began with a joke. The young, soon-to-be actor was not caught with drugs at a party with friends, as might be expected. He was seized with 10 pounds of marijuana at Chicago's O'Hare International Airport on his birthday in 1970. The story of the comedian's arrest involves him joking to a fellow passenger about having bombs in his travel bags. The ill-timed joke was heard by a ticket agent who was said to have called federal marshals. In a movie-like twist, the joke and the ticket agent were not the reason Murray was arrested that day. City cops had received a tip about the his plan to travel with the cannabis and were waiting for him at the airport. The charge only led to a misdemeanor conviction with five years of probation for the lucky 20-year-old Murray.

Bill had early plans to be a doctor, but he changed those plans after his arrest and dropped out of Regis College in Denver where he was studying. Instead of going to a new college or finding a new focus in school, he began to pursue acting. Murray joined the cast of the short-lived sketch show, "Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell” in 1975, which did not live past the year. He later joined and starred in the similarly titled, "Saturday Night Live,” which is the version of the show that has been running since.

Bill has always been an example of Hollywood royalty with humble beginnings. The fifth child out of nine in his family, he worked as a caddy during his school years. The money Bill earned at that job helped to pay his way through private high school in Chicago. Murray has admitted to being a part of some acting during his school years and also to playing sports, but he never took the craft of acting seriously until after he dropped out of Regis College in Denver following his arrest. Many credit his 1974 role of Tripper in the film, "Meatballs” for making Murray a household name, but films like, "Caddy Shack,” "Tootsie” and "Ghostbusters” proved his position as a comedy superstar. Any obstacles that had arisen in his early life were cleared, and Murray was ready for more success.

Murray has won several awards for his work throughout the years, but he received the most acclaim for his work in the 2003 film, "Lost in Translation,” which was written and directed by Sophia Coppola. He was up for an Oscar that year for his lead role in the film. Although he did not win, he won national and international awards for best actor at the Golden Globes, Independent Spirit Awards, National Society of Film Critics Awards and many others. The awards for "Lost in Translation” took him by surprise. He said they helped him to learn more about himself and the need to keep himself from caring too much about winning them.

Bill Murray delivers compelling performances on screen, but his off-screen persona is even more intriguing than the characters he is paid to portray. Murray has always been known for breaking the rules, or perhaps for never following any. This is especially evident when it comes to being a part of the Hollywood machine that sells movies through actor promotion. Murray is famous for trying to dodge these interviews and press appearances, but what comes of the interviews he participates is his refreshing personality and his insight about being an iconic actor.

It was once reported that Bill Murray was caught taking pictures with a family playing kickball at the park when he was supposed to be attending a photo shoot for a popular magazine. People have shared their real stories of Bill Murray sightings and encounters online. Those real stories have inspired fictional stories that have even inspired websites for sharing between fans. Whether you are a fan of his acting talents, his larger-than-life persona or both, Bill Murray rarely disappoints.