The Byrd Theatre will be hosting a 3-day MurrayFest this Mother’s Day Weekend, celebrating the works of Bill Murray–one of this generation’s most prolific comedians. (After all, what better way to say, “Thanks, Mom” than with wall-to-wall goofball laughs?)
I can still remember when Bill Murray came on my radar—I was just a kid, and had the privilege of seeing Ghostbusters on the big screen with my parents. At the tender age of 5, many of the more subtle, grown-up jokes went over my head. But there were enough moments to elicit little kid giggles and cement Ghostbusters as one of my all-time favorite movies. As I’ve gotten older–and rewatched it countless times–I’ve come to appreciate the more nuanced moments, and to love the film that much more.
Ghostbusters is a mere speck on Bill Murray’s resume though. The man has 80+ acting credits to his name. From his early days on popular sketch shows like Saturday Night Live and SCTV, to more recent dramatic turns in Lost in Translation and St. Vincent, he’s proven himself not only hilarious, but also an engaging dramatic actor.
But while he’s been splashed across TV. and cinema screens for decades, Murray remains a bit of a mystery—equal parts reclusive & bristly, and friendly & accessible. He’s developed something of a cult following in recent years, and stories of random sightings and meetings abound. In fact, there is an entire website devoted so such stories.
If you’re like me and you know much of the work, but little of the man, read on for 10 facts, in honor of the 10 movies screening throughout MurrayFest.
- Bill Murray doesn’t have an agent. Those wishing to submit scripts must call a 1-800 number and “pitch” their script via message. If he’s interested, he’ll provide a PO Box to which you can send the script. Then, don’t call him, he’ll call you—whenever and wherever he feels like it. Hollywood insiders say it’s quite the process, but clearly one many are willing to go through to secure comedy royalty.
- He has an ownership stake in a minor league baseball team called the Charleston Riverdogs and once used the field as a slip-and-slide during a rain-out.
- He once crashed a college party in a small Scottish town—and then did the dishes.
- While many know of his actor siblings, John, Joel and Brian, Murray is actually one of eight children.
- Murray’s famous Caddy Shack “Cinderella story” scene was entirely ad-libbed. His speech went on to be included in AFI’s list of greatest movie quotes of all time.
- When the Ghost of Christmas Present, played by Carol Kane, grabbed Frank’s lip in Scrooged, she actually tore his lip in real life and halted production for several days while he healed.
- Bill Murray signed on to Stripes just two weeks prior to the start of filming. At the time, he was following a baseball team around the country and no one knew if he was actually going to show up on set till he arrived on the third day of shooting.
- He actually bowled three strikes in a row during the final round in Kingpin. Murray’s got mad Turkey skills!
- He once got lost while wandering in Bali and is said to have put on a performance for local villagers, with whom he could not otherwise communicate.
- Bill Murray would want you to buy a MurrayFest ticket and support the great work The Byrd Theatre does to bring entertainment and culture to Richmond!