It’s an overused expression, but Bill Murray really is a living legend. Stories of the one-time buster of ghosts walking into restaurants, stealing a chip from a stranger’s plate and whispering “No-one will ever believe you” – read this GQ interview for more details on that front – have become urban legend, and the internet is overflowing with nigh-on unbelievable Murray moments (and some top-notch tributes, too). Here we collate his best bits in one handy place so that next time Peter Venkman interrupts your foosball game by offering you hotdogs, you’ll know what to expect…
1) Though Bill may refuse to be a part of the ongoing will-they-won’t-they-probably-not-if-we’re-honest neverending news story that is Ghostbusters 3, that didn’t stop him from rocking up to the Scream Awards 2010 in Peter Venkman’s work gear. Accepting the awards for Best Horror and Best Cameo for Zombieland, he manages to both take the mick out of Mickey Rourke and honour his great late friend John Candy – all in his Ghostbusters uniform.
2) If you were in possession of a licensed television in the early 2000s, you probably remember British comedy gambling gameshow Banzai. One of the best bits of the show – alongside Lady One Question – was Mr. Shake Hands Man, a smiley-faced prankster who did his level best to shake the hand of a celebrity until either they walked away or someone’s wrists exploded from sheer awkwardness. Needless to say, Bill lasted a helluva long time.
3) Poets House is a poetry library and literary centre in New York. It was based in SoHo until 2009, when it moved to a new building in Battery Park – and it was during this move that Bill took it upon himself to recite Billy Collins’ ‘Another Reason Why I Don't Keep A Gun In The House’ (amongst many other poems) in front of both cameras and bored construction workers. Note: Bill looks good in a hard hat.
4) In 2008, Bill Murray jumped out of a plane to kick off the 50th Chicago Air And Water Show. A word of warning, however: he genuinely looks a bit scared beforehand. Murray being scared just doesn’t seem right, somehow.
5) Though perhaps we'd prefer Bill Murray to show us around his own house - take a bow, George Clooney, you got there first - this Murricane-hosted tour of Wes Anderson's Moonrise Kingdom set is still a wonderful sight to see. Noteable if only because he explains how you can make some of his "loud trousers" at home.
6) Don't ask Bill Murray for an autograph - ask Bill Murray for a slow-motion walk down a corridor...
David Letterman, king of late night chat show hosts, has been friends with Murray for nearly four decades, and it was Bill who was his first on screen interview back in February 1, 1982. Since then, Mr. Murray has turned up in a variety of unusual outfits, often for no reason at all. Admire, then, this French painter number, this jockey ensemble, this top hat and tails 1930s affair, this American football uniform (with the pads on the outside), as well as this inexplicable green jacket ‘n’ boxers look (complete with Russian hat).
7) The 'French painter number'.
8) The 'jockey ensemble'.
9) The 'top hat and tails 1930s affair'.
10) The 'American football uniform'.
11) The 'green jacket ‘n’ boxers look'.
12) Murray’s most recent trip to the Late Show studios involved a highly unusual entrance – even for Bill. They call it ‘Bill Murray's Mystery Arrival’, we call it ‘A Bound And Bagged Bill Murray Being Bundled Out Of A Car And Tazed’.
13) P.S. This behind the scenes clip of Bill dressed up as an American football player is also worth a look, if only for the feeling that he might actually be offering you a cookie instead of the guy holding the camera.
14) Bill Murray claims he can only play one song on guitar – Gloria by Van Morrison – though he’s keen to point out he knows it best through The Shadows Of Knight’s cover version. Here is Bill’s cover of that cover version, recorded on stage at the Crossroads Guitar Festival back in 2007, where he was helped out half way through by some guy called Eric Clapton.
15) 2007 wasn’t the only year Bill opened the benefit-concert-cum-music-festival Crossroads, with its most recent incarnation back in 2010 also seeing him attempt The Who’s My Generation before Clapton came to the rescue once more. Later on, he dressed up as Elvis Presley, Buddy Holly and, as you’ll see from the following clip, Jimi Hendrix.
16) Speaking of The Who, here’s Bill conducting Cornell University’s Big Red Marching Band as they play Pinball Wizard. As far as we’re aware, Bill’s the only human in history to conduct a brass band by swinging a jacket like he’s trying to put out a fire.
17) Bizarrely, that wasn’t the only time Bill’s conducted a band. Here he is, fake pimp cane in hand, waggling away at the George Mason Patriots’ band as they go more than a little bit berserk.
18) This is Clint Eastwood doing karaoke with Bill Murray after the 2012 AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am charity golf tournament. The song Bill’s singing (and Clint is basically just humming along to) is Brandy (You're A Fine Girl) by ‘70s pop slingers Looking Glass. By the by, if you look closely you may be able to see Barack Obama sitting on the stool on the far right.
19) This bartender at the Shangri-La bar in Austin, Texas, summarises the night Bill Murray starting serving alongside him pretty well, but here are a few more details: it took place during the 2010 South By Southwest festival, and the actual footage of Bill doing his thing kicks off at around 0:50.
20) Perhaps the most famous of Bill’s out on the town tales is this one, originally told to The Chive. You can read about it in more detail here, but it’s essentially the story of Bill crashing a karaoke room in New York, going on to buy everyone some Chartreuse liqueur and sing (Marie's The Name) His Latest Flame by Elvis Presley. By the way, if you can work out what the logo is on Bill’s jumper, award yourself 10 Empire points.
21) The next boozy story doesn’t have any video footage or pictorial evidence to run alongside it, but it does have Bill telling the yarn himself, and on The Late Show With David Letterman to boot. After you’ve skipped ahead to 2:40, look forward to Bill talking about drunkenly driving a golf cart around Sweden before outright refusing to take a breathalyzer test. “It was a twilight ride…”, he explains.
22) As if he were trying to bring Lost Into Translation to life, back in 2006 Bill met a beautiful stranger in St. Andrews one night – he was there for a charity golf match, you see – who asked him back to her place for a party. Bill said yes, but instead of, say, singing karaoke or serving drinks, he set about cleaning his host’s dirty dishes. Something for Lost In Translation 2, perhaps? Perhaps not. For the complete story, head to The Telegraph here, or just hang around the Ma Bells Bistro Bar and someone’s bound to bring it up pretty soon.
Ask many celebrities for photo and their publicist will turn you down. Bill Murray doesn’t have a publicist. Hell, Bill Murray doesn’t have a reliable phone line: in fact, if you want to get a hold of him, leave a message on his answerphone and if he feels like it, he may get back to you. What this all means is that if you ask Bill for a snap, he’ll give you one you’ll never forget...
Bill Murray loves golf and he loves baseball. Because of this, if you want to see the lesser-spotted Bill Murray in the wild for yourself, you’re best off heading to any of the numerous charity golf tournaments he takes part in or buying a ticket to a baseball game at any of the four minor league teams he part owns, namely the St. Paul Saints, the Fort Myers Miracle, the Hudson Valley Renegades and the Charleston RiverDogs, where his official title is ‘Director of Fun’.
34) As an example of him directing some fun, here’s Bill mucking about on the RiverDogs’ tarpaulin to entertain the crowds during a rain delay. And by “mucking about”, we mean “bodyslamming into the ground and doing several roly polies” – which he is great at, by the way.
35) When you induct Bill Murray into a Hall Of Fame – like, say, the South Atlantic League Hall of Fame – you’re going to get a good speech. This good speech lasts over 10 minutes, so though it’s good, you may need to grab a drink before you sit down to watch.
36) What’s it like to have Bill Murray as a boss? Even as a boss called ‘Director Of Fun’? This mini-doc should answer both of those questions.
37) Despite all this, Bill’s first love in baseball is the Chicago Cubs, and those folks over at Wrigley Field are more than happy to invite him over every once in a while to throw the first pitch. In 2004 his pitch was so wild it went over the backstop, but in 2012 it was, well… something else.
38) When Bill watches baseball, he generally wears shorts, a T-shirt and a hat. When Bill plays golf, he wears whatever he goddamn wants, such as, say, full-body camo outfit. At one point in the following video, he even punts an American football (for some reason).
After that little beauty, you’re probably going to want to see some other golfing outfits Bill’s worn over the years – and we’re more than happy to oblige.
Letterman: “It must be a wonderful thing, you are beloved wherever you go.”
Murray: “Well Dave, I’ve decided to turn all that around. Yes, I’ve decided I want to be the one people point at and say, ‘It’s his fault.’”
Letterman: “I always wonder, what’s he doing, what’s he up to? Where do you go, what do you do?”
Murray: “Um… I’d rather not say, Dave.”
48) Bill Murray vs. Edward Hopper's Nighthawks
49) Bill Murray vs. Sweatshop Union (warning: contains swears)
50) Bill Murray vs. George Dawe
51) Bill Murray vs. Colouring Books
52) Bill Murray vs. Paper Dolls
53) Bill Murray vs. Christmas Jumpers
54) Bill Murray vs. Several Versions Of Himself
55) Bill Murray vs. Symbols
56) Bill Murray vs. Paint
57) Bill Murray vs. Jesus