The Bill Murray Stories

Bill Murray is a unicorn among movie stars. No other person in the history of fame gives such good celebrity encounters. But he’s also sort of a recluse and an intensely private person. He doesn’t have an agent. He’s notoriously hard to get a hold of. Major directors have failed to cast him because he’s elusive as hell.

But the thing about Bill Murray is, SO many people have a story about him. He’s photo-bombing their wedding pictures, or playing tambourine in their band, or bar-tending at the local watering hole. He just spontaneously joins in and leaves joy in his wake. Because what other celebrity in the whole entire world is as beloved as Bill Murray? His 615x330_bill-murray-1.0energy is just so open and guileless that you can’t help but admire him. But he receives all this love and instead of it bloating him, he reflects it back at the world. He’s literally just having fun. I guarantee nobody else handles fame half as well as he does.

Anyway, you only have to type half his name into the Google search bar before these crazy Bill Murray stories start to pop up. Hundreds or thousands of them. So documentarian Tommy Avallone decides to tackle them in The Bill Murray Stories: Life Lessons Learned From A Mythical Man. Bill Murray is our generation’s big foot. Sightings are legendary. Stringing together a bunch of Bill Murray encounters actually starts to feel really meaningful. It’s just a few moments from his life that makes one person’s day extra special. He lives a lot like some of our favourite characters of his: he just really throws himself at life, he lives in the moment. And shouldn’t we all? Is Bill Murray showing us how to live life?

Avallone is not a terribly good film-maker. He inserts himself into the story a little too much for my taste. But his subject is near and dear to my heart, so I watched, and I’m glad I did. Bill Murray is uniquely able to cut through this weird fame barrier, reach across it and just be a guy among guys. I particularly like a story about Bill at SXSW. In fact, Sean and I saw Bill at SXSW just last year, and heck yes, you bet it made our day.

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12 thoughts on “The Bill Murray Stories

  1. Christopher

    My favorite Bill Murray story, one I’m sure makes it into this documentary, is that in a restaurant he ate a handful of some guy’s fries and said, “No one will ever believe you.” And I think, why wouldn’t they believe that? Even if there weren’t so many other well-documented stories of things like that Bill Murray’s done–I feel like Lost In Translation was largely Bill Murray being Bill Murray–I’d want to believe that.
    But I also try not to look too closely. I could forgive Avallone, I think, for inserting himself a little too much because I worry that if Bill Murray comes too much into focus it’ll destroy the myth.

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  2. In My Cluttered Attic

    Gotta see this one! Bill, Tom Hanks, and Steve Martin are great guys to encounter. Saw Bill at the AT&T Pro-Am (one Saturday), and our girls wanted his autograph. As he passed us by, our girls (holding their programs up and pens in air) began screaming “Mr. Murray, Mr. Murray, please, can we get your autograph?” He turned around and smiled, grabbed a pen and then proceeded to sign each of their foreheads (and then their programs) as the gallery around us went wild with laughter. He then gently leaned over and smiled at them and asked, “Girls, I can’t tell you how happy I am you all three skipped school just so I could take your pictures.” He then proceeded to grab a camera from a young woman standing next to us (a total stranger) and began snapping their pictures like a professional photographer would, moving around them and changing the position of the camera as he snapped their photos. They giggled while everyone was left in stitches. Many years ago I had a chance to meet with Steve Martin and he gave me his card with his autograph on it. The card read: This certifies that you had a personal encounter with me and that you found me warm, polite, intelligent and funny. However, I heard recently that he’s stopped doing that because he feels folks just didn’t get it. But, I’m grateful that I did. And as for Tom Hanks…well you’ve all heard the stories, and he truly is that much fun to talk with. 😀

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  3. Willow Croft

    He was eating in a restaurant in my hometown. My fellow punk (& friend) and I saw him through the window. I didn’t want to bother him while he was eating, but my friend went in and he signed the inside of her flight jacket. The jacket was later burned by her roommate, along with some of her other stuff, sadly.

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  4. selizabryangmailcom

    I don’t know why it matters, but it’s nice when a celebrity turns out this way instead of the other way, having your bubble burst when you discover something hideous about them that you can’t believe. They’re in our lives, even if it’s an illusion and simply voyeuristic on our parts. And it’s a nice surprise when some of them turn out to be super cool.

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