Bill Murray

Bill Murray in Stripes

Bill Murray in “Stripes”

Bill Murray is a pretty decent comic, but he’s an even better actor, and he’s just finally beginning to receive the critical recognition that he deserves. We know it really hasn’t been that long since the comedian dove into more serious film roles – which is the lone reason for his second coming – but it’s hard not to like the consistent work he’s done for indie directors Wes Anderson and Jim Jarmusch. Bill was born in a small town in the Midwest in 1950 and was always a handful, kicked out of both the Boy Scouts and Little League at a young age. After struggling through his share of trouble as a young adult (including an arrest for the attempt to smuggle drugs through O’Hare Airport), Bill joined his older brother Brian in Chicago’s improve comedy group Second City. After performing with the group for a few years, Bill moved to New York City and joined the National Lampoon radio show where he was then recruited to replace Chevy Chase on NBC’s “Saturday Night Live.”

Just like Chevy though, Bill quickly gained fame from his work on the comedy series and headlined his first film only four years later with “Meatballs.” Following his work on the film, Bill continued to knock out hits like “Caddyshack” and “Stripes” before reuniting with fellow “SNL” alum Dan Ackroyd and writing friend Harold Ramis for the mega-hit “Ghostbusters.” Bill rode out the early 90’s with more hilarious performances in a number of different films (though his turn as a transvestite in “Ed Wood” is unforgettable) and entered the new millennium with a much different agenda. After appearing in a more serious dramatic role in Wes Anderson’s “Rushmore,” Bill has been experiencing a film renaissance, with tons of critical praise for his work in films like “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “Lost in Translation,” which he received an Oscar nomination for Best Actor. While it’s great to see Bill back in films doing what he does best, the veteran comedian has stated that he will be taking an undetermined extended leave from the industry after he’s finished with his upcoming projects. We can only hope that he will return again sometime later down the road.

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Bill on the Screen

Bill has had quite an interesting film and TV career over the past 25 years. Starting out as a writer for “SNL” in 1976, Bill quickly joined the team as a performer for four years before leaving to to try his hand in film. Most of his first movies showcased the comedian’s goofy nature, including “Meatballs,” “Caddyshack,” and “Stripes,” but it was in “Ghostbusters” were he earned a much larger mainstream audience. The early 90’s didn’t offer very much to Bill’s career, though the lead role in “Groundhog Day” is one of his best performances to date. More recently, Bill has stepped away from the mainstream (with the exception of “Charlie’s Angels“) and moved to more independent features, including his work alongside director Wes Anderson in “Rushmore,” “The Royal Tenenbaums” and “The Life Aquatic,” but also in much heavier films like “Hamlet,” “Coffee and Cigarettes” and the award-winning “Lost in Translation.”