Bill Murray (b. September 21, 1950)
Bill Murray is one of nine children born to a lumber salesman in a Chicago suburb. He took pre-med courses Regis University in Denver, but dropped out (or was kicked out) after he was arrested on his 20th birthday at Chicago’s O’Hare airport for smuggling nine pounds of marijuana in his luggage. He soon joined the Second City improv troop in Chicago, his springboard to "Saturday Night Live" and a film career.
Murray starred memorably in Meatballs, Stripes, and Tootsie, and convincingly played Hunter S. Thompson in Where The Buffalo Roam. He's loved by pot lovers as the gonzo, grass-growing groundskeeper in Caddyshack.
After John Belushi's death in 1982, Murray began work on a film adaptation Somerset Maugham's novel about a spiritual quest, The Razor's Edge, in which he starred. To get the green light, he agreed to appear in Ghostbusters, which became the top-grossing film of 1984.
Murray has received much critical acclaim for dramatic roles in Rushmore and The Royal Tenenbaums as well as comedies like Groundhog Day. An avid golfer, he co-wrote a book titled Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf and there's nothing more zen than his golf swing in Lost in Translation. You've got to wonder if his second marriage was like the one depicted in that film, because just as he earned his first Oscar nomination for it, his wife sued for divorce, alleging he was addicted to marijuana and alcohol.
In Broken Flowers, the Jim Jarmusch film he made in 2005, Murray's character smokes pot with his Jamaican neighbor, assuring his daughter that it's "just cannabis sativa" and not tobacco. In St. Vincent (2014), he sits in what looks like smoke to the tune “One Toke Over the Line” (pictured). Turns out to be a joke. The last scene has him puffing two kinds of cigarettes.
On January 17, 2014, Murray wrote on Reddit, "“[M]arijuana is responsible for such a large part of the prison population, for the crime of self-medication. And it takes millions and billions of dollars by incarcerating people for this crime against oneself... People are realizing that the war on drugs is a failure, that the amount of money spent, you could have bought all the drugs with that much money rather than create this army of people and incarcerated people.”
Murray voiced the laid-back Baloo the Bear in the latest film adaptation of VIP Rudyard Kipling's The Jungle Book. Now that's what we call perfect casting.
In 2007, Regis University awarded Bill Murray an honorary Doctor of Humanities degree. In 2016 he became yet another VIP to win the Mark Twain Prize for Humor, awarded at the Kennedy Center.