The Canadian Press - ONLINE EDITION

With Bill Murray set to visit Toronto, a look at the Top 10 Bill Murray legends

  • Print

TORONTO - This Friday has been christened Bill Murray Day by the Toronto International Film Festival, and while a few of his best-loved films screen in public, locals should be on the lookout for the actor himself.

Murray has a habit of showing up in the most unlikely places, whether it's in the engagement photos of total strangers or uncredited at the climax of "Zombieland."

Below, some of the Top 10 legends about the sardonic, eccentric "Ghostbusters" star:

1. According to a 2010 GQ feature story, anyone who wants to talk to Murray (whether that happens to be a director, producer or a lowly journalist) must dial an 800 number and leave a message. If he's interested in talking, he'll call you back. He's never had a publicist and fired his agent in recent years.

2. On the New York set of "Ghostbusters," Murray had a penchant for withdrawing a couple hundred dollars in small bills and then distributing the money to homeless people, according to an anecdote relayed by agent Michael Ovitz in Esquire. Murray "knew every doorman and everyone in every restaurant" in the city, where he was apparently beloved.

3. When Murray joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in 1977, he was a replacement to the first season's breakout star, Chevy Chase. When Chase returned to the skit-show institution as guest host, Murray confronted him about something backstage and they traded insults (Chase apparently insulted Murray's complexion) until the conflict turned physical. Murray told Empire magazine in 2012 that the skirmish was "really a Hollywood fight, a 'Don't touch my face!' kind of thing," but his alleged parting shot at Chase remains infamous: "Medium talent!"

4. Murray's relationship with Harold Ramis became strained while the two collaborated on the classic comedy "Groundhog Day." The film's producers urged Murray to hire a personal assistant to facilitate communication between the actor and the studio, and Murray gave in. Except he hired someone who was deaf and mute (even though Murray didn't know sign language). Ramis, who died in February, called the ploy "anti-communication" in an Entertainment Weekly interview. Murray acknowledged in a 2014 Reddit chat that ultimately he and his assistant "didn't part well."

5. He loves sports, supports several Chicago-based franchises and golfs avidly. But Murray has also been a part owner of an array of minor-league teams, including the St. Paul Saints, Hudson Valley Renegades, Brockton Rox and Charleston RiverDogs. According to the RiverDogs' official website, Murray's job title is "director of fun." During a rain-ruined RiverDogs game, Murray reportedly entertained the crowd by rounding the tarp-wrapped bases and sliding sloppily into home base.

6. The ugliest blemish on Murray's otherwise impressive resume is the 2004 film "Garfield" and its similarly maligned 2006 follow-up. But to hear Murray tell it, there was an amusing explanation for his participation. In a Reddit chat earlier this year, Murray claimed that he looked at the "Garfield" screenplay and saw "Joel Cohen" written on it and, thinking of the "Fargo" co-director, agreed to do the film after only a cursory look at the script. Only later did he realize that the decorated sibling directing duo spell their last name "Coen."

7. There's an entire website ( devoted to public brushes with a frolicking Murray. He tooled about in a stolen golf cart in Sweden, crashed a May bachelor party, and materialized at a house party in Scotland and washed the dishes. He played kickball with strangers, he bartended at South by Southwest with Wu-Tang Clan and he exercised his pipes in the private karaoke room of total strangers in 2011.

8. The "Scrooged" star hosts an annual Christmas party, though he prefers not to call it that. He told Esquire he puts "a lot of Christmas trees around the house so it smells good" and serves "Christmas wine." Last year, Winnipeg-raised retired wrestler "Rowdy" Roddy Piper tweeted a photo of a "Murray Christmas" card he said he'd received from the actor, which featured a topless Murray with a red bow wrapped around his neck.

9. Murray's inconsistent commitment to a third "Ghostbusters" film has fed the rumour mill for years. One story that circulated in 2011 claimed that Murray ran one version of a "Ghostbusters 3" script through a shredder and mailed it back to co-writers Ramis and Dan Aykroyd. Whether that's true or not, he explained his lack of interest in revisiting the franchise in an interview earlier this year with Dazed Digital, arguing: "I find that you don't really lose by saying no in show business. If you say no, sometimes they come back with a better script. Or sometimes it just goes away."

10. One Murray tale that might be a Murray myth was related to the comedian directly. GQ asked Murray about the rumour that he was sneaking up behind people in New York, covering their eyes and saying "Guess who?" When they turned around and identified him, he would say: "No one will believe you." Asked about the legend, Murray took a long pause and said he'd heard the rumour from a lot of people. He then added: "But by God, it sounds crazy, doesn't it? Just so crazy and unlikely and unusual?"

Fact Check

Fact Check

Have you found an error, or know of something we’ve missed in one of our stories?
Please use the form below and let us know.

* Required
  • Please post the headline of the story or the title of the video with the error.

  • Please post exactly what was wrong with the story.

  • Please indicate your source for the correct information.

  • Yes


  • This will only be used to contact you if we have a question about your submission, it will not be used to identify you or be published.

  • Cancel

Having problems with the form?

Contact Us Directly
  • Print

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

You can comment on most stories on You can also agree or disagree with other comments. All you need to do is be a Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscriber to join the conversation and give your feedback.

Have Your Say

New to commenting? Check out our Frequently Asked Questions.

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press print or e-edition subscribers only. why?

Have Your Say

Comments are open to Winnipeg Free Press Subscribers only. why?

The Winnipeg Free Press does not necessarily endorse any of the views posted. By submitting your comment, you agree to our Terms and Conditions. These terms were revised effective April 16, 2010.


Make text: Larger | Smaller


Key of Bart: NDP Self-Destruction

View more like this

Photo Store Gallery

  • JJOE.BRYKSA@FREEPRESS.MB.CA Local-Postcard  Day-Horror frost and fog created a most beautiful setting at Assiniboine Park Thursday morning in WInnipeg- Enviroent Canada says the fog will lifet this morning and will see a high of -7C-  JOE BRYKSA/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS- Feb 18, 2010
  • A nesting goose sits on the roof of GoodLife Fitness at 143 Nature Way near Kenaston as the morning sun comes up Wednesday morning- See Bryksa’s Goose a Day Photo- Day 07- Web crop-May 09, 2012   (JOE BRYKSA / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS)

View More Gallery Photos


Are you concerned about the death of a seal at the Assiniboine Park Zoo?

View Results

View Related Story

Ads by Google