William James "Bill" Murray (born September 21, 1950) is an American actor, comedian, and writer who portrayed Arthur Denton in the 1986 film adaptation of Little Shop of Horrors. He first gained exposure on Saturday Night Live, a role that earned him his first Emmy Award, and later starred in comedy films—including Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes (1981), Tootsie (1982), Ghostbusters (1984), Scrooged (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989), What About Bob? (1991), and Groundhog Day (1993). He also co-directed Quick Change (1990).
Murray garnered additional critical acclaim later in his career, starring in Lost in Translation (2003), which earned him a Golden Globe and a BAFTA Award for Best Actor, as well as an Academy Award nomination for Best Actor. He also received Golden Globe nominations for his roles in Ghostbusters, Rushmore (1998), Hyde Park on Hudson (2012), St. Vincent (2014), and the HBO miniseries Olive Kitteridge (2014), for which he later won his second Primetime Emmy Award.
Murray received the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor in 2016.
Murray was born on September 21, 1950 in Evanston, Illinois, and was raised in Wilmette, Illinois, a northern suburb of Chicago. He is the son of Lucille (née Collins), a mail room clerk, and Edward Joseph Murray II, a lumber salesman.
Murray and his eight siblings were raised in a Roman Catholic Irish-American family. Three of his siblings, John Murray, Joel Murray, and Brian Doyle-Murray, are also actors. A sister, Nancy, is an Adrian Dominican nun in Michigan, who has traveled the United States in a one-woman program, portraying St. Catherine of Siena. Their father died in 1967 at the age of 46 from complications of diabetes when Bill was 17 years old.
As a youth, Murray read children's biographies of American heroes like Kit Carson, Wild Bill Hickok, and Davy Crockett. He attended St. Joseph's grade school and Loyola Academy. During his teen years, he worked as a golf caddy to fund his education at the Jesuit high school. One of his sisters had polio and his mother suffered several miscarriages.During his teen years he was the lead singer of a rock band called the Dutch Masters and took part in high school and community theater.
After graduating, Murray attended Regis University in Denver, Colorado, taking pre-medical courses. He quickly dropped out, returning to Illinois. Decades later, in 2007, Regis awarded him an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. On September 21, 1970, his 20th birthday, the police arrested Murray at Chicago's O'Hare Airport for trying to smuggle 10 lb (4.5 kg) of cannabis, which he had allegedly intended to sell. The drugs were discovered when Murray joked to the passenger next to him that he was smuggling. Murray was convicted and sentenced to probation.
Murray landed his first starring role with the film Meatballs in 1979. He followed this up with his portrayal of Hunter S. Thompson in 1980's Where the Buffalo Roam. In the early 1980s, he starred in a string of box-office hits, including Caddyshack, Stripes, and Tootsie. Murray became the first guest on NBC's Late Night with David Letterman on February 1, 1982. He later appeared on the first episode of the Late Show with David Letterman on August 30, 1993, when the show moved to CBS. On January 31, 2012 – 30 years after his first appearance with Letterman – Murray appeared again on his talk show. He appeared as Letterman's final guest when the host retired on May 20, 2015.
Murray began work on a film adaptation of the novel The Razor's Edge. The film, which Murray co-wrote, was his first starring role in a dramatic film. He later agreed with Columbia Pictures to star in Ghostbusters—in a role originally written for John Belushi—to get financing for The Razor's Edge. Ghostbusters became the highest-grossing film of 1984. The Razor's Edge, which was filmed before Ghostbusters but not released until after, was a box-office flop.
Upset over the failure of The Razor's Edge, Murray took four years off from acting to study philosophy and history at the Sorbonne, frequent the Cinémathèque in Paris, and spend time with his family in their Hudson River Valley home. During that time, his second son, Luke, was born. With the exception of a cameo appearance in the 1986 movie Little Shop of Horrors, he did not make any appearances in films, though he did participate in several public readings in Manhattan organized by playwright/director Timothy Mayer and in a stage production of Bertolt Brecht's A Man's A Man.
Murray returned to films with Scrooged in 1988 and Ghostbusters II in 1989. In 1990, Murray made his first and only attempt at directing when he co-directed Quick Change with producer Howard Franklin. His subsequent films What About Bob? (1991) and Groundhog Day (1993) were box-office hits. After Groundhog Day, he appeared in a series of well-received supporting roles in films like Ed Wood, Kingpin, and Space Jam (where he appeared as himself.) However, his starring roles in Larger than Life, and The Man Who Knew Too Little were not as successful with critics or audiences. In 1998, he received much critical acclaim for Wes Anderson's Rushmore, for which he won Best Supporting Actor awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics, and the Los Angeles Film Critics Association (tying with Billy Bob Thornton). Murray decided to take a turn towards more dramatic roles and experienced a resurgence in his career, taking on roles in Wild Things, Cradle Will Rock, Hamlet (as Polonius), and The Royal Tenenbaums. In 2003, he appeared in Sofia Coppola's Lost in Translation and went on to earn a Golden Globe Award, a BAFTA Award, and an Independent Spirit Award, as well as Best Actor awards from several film critic organizations. He was considered a favorite to win the Academy Award for Best Actor, but Sean Penn ultimately won the award for his performance in Mystic River. In an interview included on the Lost in Translation DVD, Murray states that it is his favorite movie in which he has appeared. Also in 2003, he appeared in a short cameo for Jim Jarmusch's Coffee and Cigarettes, in which he played himself "hiding out" in a local coffee shop.
During this time Murray still appeared in comedic roles such as Charlie's Angels and Osmosis Jones. In 2004, he provided the voice of Garfield in Garfield: The Movie, and again in 2006 for Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties. Murray later said that he only took the role because he was under the mistaken impression the screenplay, co-written by Joel Cohen, was the work of Joel Coen. In 2004, he made his third collaboration with Wes Anderson in The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou and in 2005 his second collaboration with Jim Jarmusch in Broken Flowers. That same year, Murray announced that he was taking a break from acting as he had not had the time to relax since his new breakthrough in the late 1990s. He did return to the big screen for brief cameos in Wes Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited and in Get Smart as Agent 13, the agent in the tree. In 2008, he played an important role in the post-apocalyptic film City of Ember, and in 2009, played himself in a cameo role in the zombie comedy Zombieland.
Murray provided the voice for the character Mr. Badger for the 2009 animated film Fantastic Mr. Fox.
Since 2010, Murray has been part of ensembles which received several award nominations in two Wes Anderson movies: Moonrise Kingdom (2012) and Grand Budapest Hotel (2014). Murray was nominated for a Golden Globe for his performance in the 2014 film St. Vincent. He played a music manager in Rock the Kasbah in 2015. In 2016, he was the voice of Baloo in Disney's live action remake of The Jungle Book.
Murray appeared as Martin Heiss, a skeptical ghost debunker, in the reboot of Ghostbusters, which was released on July 15, 2016. There had been speculation that he might return to the Ghostbusters franchise for a rumored Ghostbusters 3, he dispelled such rumors in an interview with GQ. In March 2010, Murray appeared on the Late Show with David Letterman and talked about his return to Ghostbusters III, stating "I'd do it only if my character was killed off in the first reel." In an interview with GQ, Murray said: "You know, maybe I should just do it. Maybe it'd be fun to do." In the interview, when asked "Is the third Ghostbusters movie happening? What's the story with that?", Murray replied, "It's all a bunch of crock."