It’s a scientific fact that everyone on the planet loves Bill Murray. Thanks to a career that has spanned over four decades there’s a Bill Murray for every type of film fan. The Ghostbusters Bill Murray, the existential Wes Anderson Bill Murray, the whisky swilling Lost in Translation Bill Murray… Heck, there’s even a Garfield Bill Murray for the fans of terrible CGI fodder. Although we must let him off, considering Murray only did the latter because he mistook the director’s name for one of the Coen Brothers. That is only one of many unbelievable, incomprehensible stories about the man that is as brilliant off-camera as he is on.
1. Bill Murray is notoriously hard to get hold of, as he doesn’t have an agent, only a voicemail. For his latest film project St Vincent, director Ted Melfi described the arduous process, which includes ringing a special 1800 number, then writing a one-page letter on why you want him to do your movie. Sofia Coppola famously had to phone Al Pacino, just to try and get in touch with him.
2. He is very picky about his film roles. He has reportedly turned down a number of iconic characters, such as Forest Gump, Willy Wonka, Han Solo and Buzz Lightyear. He also rejected Steve Carell’s suicidal Frank in Little Miss Sunshine, and Tom Hanks’s lead in Splash. All terribly disappointing for a multitude of reasons, of course.
3. Bill is a widely known gatecrasher. Among the unexpected events he has turned up for: a couple’s engagement photoshoot, a Boston College bachelor party, a karaoke night, and he has even read poetry at a local construction workers’ site.
4. Bill Murray loves being Bill Murray. According to legend he loves to sneak up on people in the streets, tap them on the shoulder, and say, “And no one will ever believe you.”
5. Although it is a high point of our bucket list to make friends with Bill Murray, his actual best friend Mitch Glazer would probably tell you to be careful what you wish for. Glazer is married to the actress Kelly Lynch, who once had a passionate love scene with Patrick Swayze in the film ‘Road House’. Whenever it’s on screen, Murray is rings Glazer to inform him that “Kelly’s having sex with Patrick Swayze right now”. If Bill is busy, he will get one of his brothers to do it.
6. A friend of David Letterman, Bill always comes on his show in a different amusing costume. These costumes have involved a ravishing French painter, a jockey, and a dashing 1930s tuxedo. Murray once said to Letterman he does this, so they can ‘talk seriously about cinema’.
7. Despite it being one of the most romantic movies we can think of, Bill was actually going through a divorce during the filming of Groundhog Day. To keep him level-headed Harold Ramis suggested he get a personal assistant. However, Bill took this opportunity to hire a deaf assistant, who only spoke in sign language.
8. A hater of autographs, Bill Murray does however like to oblige his fans with slow-motion walks down corridors. The moment was filmed, and edited into a Wes Anderson style. After all, why simply sign your signature when you can do something celebrating being Bill Murray instead?