So you’re walking down the street in New York City when a man sneaks up on you. He covers your eyes and says guess who? You’re probably freaking out a little bit, but then you turn around and see that it’s none other than Bill Murray. Can you picture it? Is it that too far of a stretch for the 64- year-old comedian/ actor who started his most recent interview for the Dave Letterman show by swinging onto set dressed as Peter Pan? This insane rumor that Murray has been sneaking up on people in the streets of New York has been going around for some time now and every time he is asked about it he won’t acknowledge whether it is fact or fiction. It is almost infuriating how little he cares about the opinion of the public, but being is so unapologetically himself is definitely part of his charm.
I think Murray’s delightfully average upbringing has a great deal to do with his effortless humor and relatability. He was born in Wilmette, Illinois as the fifth of nine children. He held a couple odd jobs when he was young. His favorite was working for a Little Ceaser. In an interview with Jimmy Kimmel, he talked about how he used to go in starving and how he and his coworkers would eat some of the dough they were making. During his youth, he and several of his siblings also worked as caddies to pay for their tuition to Loyola Academy, but Murray mostly just messed around like the rest of us plebeians. According to a feature article in Rolling Stone, he even spent his twentieth birthday in jail after being busted for possession of half a pound of marijuana. Surprisingly enough, it was after he got off of probation for this that he decided he wanted to take up acting. Six years later he landed his spot on Saturday Night Live and started amusing the masses.
Seeing as how Murray has had a hand in every aspect of the entertainment world since then, including acting, directing and comedy, It’s easy to get caught up in the idea that he is a larger-than-life sort of figure and, in sense, he is. Murray is so recognizable from his roles in iconic films such as Groundhog Day, Lost in Translation, and Ghostbusters that it wouldn’t be hard to believe that he is just another famous face, but he doesn’t take himself that seriously. In the interview with Rolling Stone Murray’s friends and coworkers talked about how it was to work with him on set. They said that he used to throw banana peels in front of people. He never intended to trip anyone, he just to get a reaction from them. In response to these statements Murray said, “You can do the very best you can when you’re very, very relaxed…I realized the more fun I had, the better I did.” So the set and now the rest of the world has essentially become his playground.
Murray perfectly embodies the idea of “very, very relaxed” seeing as he is the kind of person who crashes random people’s parties, get behind bars to serve tequila, and get lost in jungles but entertains a crowd of villagers who don’t even speak his language. One of the more popular stories of Murray’s impulsiveness is the one where he drove a man’s taxi cab for a day while the taxi driver practiced his saxophone in the back seat. The two then ate at a restaurant and entertained a crowd in the early hours of the morning. When asked about this story by Rolling Stones Magazine, Murray said, “”It was awesome… I think we’d all do that.”
But, in reality, not all of us would. It takes a special kind of person to act off gut feelings like those and can be said with confidence that Murray is definitely one of those special people. He does what he wants in every single aspect of his life regardless of how it affects others. IN an interview with Jimmy Kimmel Live, Kimmel asks Murray about this spontaneous lifestyle. He asked Murray if there was any way that he could talk him into going to Argentina after the show. To this Murray responded with. “I could do it next week. I would definitely do it next week. I could clear the decks for next week.” He then even goes on to talk about how he has always wanted to go to the airport to just pick somewhere to go.
For another example of how he lives life the way he wants, take his phone. Murray doesn’t want to answer one so he doesn’t, even though it has cost him a few jobs that he has been interested in. Murray is notorious for having an 800 number. When asked about it in GQ Magazine, in classic Murray fashion he said, “Well, it’s what I finally went to. I have this phone number that they call and talk. And then I listen…I just sort of decide. I might listen and say, ‘Okay, why don’t you put it on a piece of paper? Put it on a piece of paper, and if it’s interesting, I’ll call you back, and if it’s not, I won’t.’ It’s exhausting otherwise…”
Murray does however always seem to make time for projects associated with some of his favorite directors or actors. He even took the role in Garfield: The Movie under the false impression that it was written by Joel Coen, but he was rather disappointed to discover that it was not the same writer who he had originally thought it was. In GQ Magazine, he said that this was how his line “Well, maybe Garfield” came about in his Zombieland cameo when he is asked about his regrets.
As he gets older, Murray continues to entertain audiences everywhere by doing roles that interest him. Most recently, Murray was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor for his role in St. Vincent and now he is doing the voice for Baloo in The Jungle Book that set to be released in 2016. With his effortless humor and impulsive attitude, Murray will certainly keep us on our toes for as long as he can and I know that, personally, I will be keeping my eyes open the next time I am in New York to see if the rumors of his pranks are true.