As I took my place in the national TV audience of the 70th Annual Golden Globes, I could not help but notice Bill Murray in the crowd.
He was nominated for the award for Best Actor in a Leading Role for his performance as Franklin Delano Roosevelt in “Hyde Park on Hudson,” but that was not why he caught my eye.
Both his pleasant presence and his absolutely remarkable mustache received my attention and led me to recollect and reminisce on his equally remarkable career.
Throughout the years of my life, Murray has managed to entertain me in a variety of different ways.
From his portrayal of the gopher-obsessed Carl Spackler in “Caddyshack,” to his more-than-memorable performance as the phobic and insistent Bob Wiley in “What About Bob?” Murray never fails to bring a smile to my face.
Even in more serious roles, such as the struggling actor Bob Harris in “Lost in Translation,” his natural ability to improvise subtle humor shines through.
Improv has proven to be his greatest talent, and he not only utilizes this on the big screen, but also in interaction with the public.
This spontaneous behavior has led him to become somewhat of an urban legend over the past few years. It is said that while in random cities, he is prone to just walk into strangers’ homes for a bit of entertainment.
Numerous individuals have come forward saying Murray once walked into their home, made himself a sandwich, and then left while saying, “No one will ever believe you.”
In 2007, Murray was set to tee-off at a celebrity golf tournament in Utah. Before he started his round, he turned toward the gathered crowd and threw a Coke bottle at them as a joke. Incidentally, the bottle struck a man squarely in the nose. Murray rushed over to him and said, “It’s cut, I’m sorry. You might need some stitches. I was just … it was downhill and the wind was blowing … and you were wide open.”
Everyone in the crowd — including the nasally mutilated gentleman — roared with laughter. Murray then helped the man stop the bleeding, autographed the bottle he had, at this point, converted into a weapon, and carried on with his round of golf.
It is stories like these that leave me in awe of Murray’s work.
Along with his uncanny comedic strength, he has the ability to turn unfortunate situations into scenes of pleasure.
He dropped out of college in 1971 because he was convicted of smuggling 10 pounds of marijuana into Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport, and 36 years later, he returned to that same college as a millionaire to receive an Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree.
He is a man of two failed marriages, and as Raleigh St. Clair in “The Royal Tenenbaums” and Walt Bishop in “Moonrise Kingdom,” he plays men in struggling, loveless marriages.
As a witness of his accomplishments, I have taken away three very important life lessons from Bill Murray: versatility is empowering; “baby steps” can cure just about anything; and hardships in life are just gateways to funnier, better times.