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Ten Things About... Bill Murray

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Bill Murray preparing to dive into a makeshift swimming-pool while filming a segment for the ‘Late Show with David Letterman’

© WENN

Whether or not Mr Bill Murray eventually straps on the proton pack and 'Venkman' namebadge to reunite with Ray, Egon and Winston (and Dana, Louis, Janine and Slimer) again, now seems as good a time as any to scour the archives at the New York Public Library for ten nifty facts you may or may not have known about the grumpy face behind countless classic movies from Scrooged and Rushmore to Lost In Translation and The Darjeeling Limited.

1. Bill Murray was born William James Murray in Wilmette, Illinois, on September 21, 1950 to mail room clerk Lucille and lumber salesman Edward Joseph Murray II.

2. In 1970, Bill was nabbed at Chicago's O'Hare Airport with nine pounds of marijuana in his bag worth a whopping $20,000. A Tribune news report from the time reveals that he really brought it on himself, as he had joked to another passenger that he was carrying two bombs in his luggage. "A ticket agent didn't think it was funny," apparently, and called the US Marshals who were waiting for him as he touched down!

3. All that naughtiness out of his system, Murray got involved in an improv comedy group and was soon recruited by John Belushi to be a featured star on The National Lampoon Radio Hour, alongside Chevy Chase, Gilda Radner, and Harold Ramis. A couple of years on, Murray replaced Chase on the second season of Saturday Night Live.

4. One of Murray's best known early roles was Carl Spackler in Harold Ramis's Caddyshack. He was no stranger to that world, having previously worked as a caddy to fund his education. Bill is in fact a massive golf lover and frequently plays in celeb tournaments. He also penned the 1999 autobiography/essay Cinderella Story: My Life in Golf.

5. During the filming of 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, Bill was reportedly bitten twice by the eponymous creature!

6. During the filming of 1993 comedy Groundhog Day, Bill was reportedly bitten twice by the eponymous creature! Oh, we're just playing with you... moving on! One of Bill's less well-received roles was providing the voice of an animated Garfield for a 2004 live-action movie. He later quipped that he only took on the film because he confused writer Joel Cohen with Joel 'brother of Ethan' Coen. Finding out the truth didn't stop him appearing in sequel Garfield: A Tail of Two Kitties, mind!

7. Those Ghostbusters 3 rumours... Bill's unhappiness with the first 1989 sequel (despite it starring Peter 'that bloke from Ally McBeal' MacNicol!) may well be behind his ambivalence towards the project. "The first 45 minutes of the original Ghostbusters is some of the funniest stuff ever made," he claims. "The second one was disappointing because the special-effects guys took over. I had something like two scenes - and they're the only funny ones in the movie." Ouch!

8. Back in 1982, Bill was the first ever guest on Late Night with David Letterman and has been great value on talkshows ever since. He recently recounted a tale to Dave about what happened when he got back into character as Doctor Venkman for the Ghostbusters video game. "I go out on the streets and it's Manhattan on a Sunday morning around 9 o'clock and I start singing the dang Ghostbusters song," he explained. "And some couple's walking down the street and they look at me like, 'Get over it pal!'"

9. With someone as charismatic and quirky as Bill, there's bound to be a few urban legends floating about, but this one actually happened to a friend of a friend of my sister's cousin! Her boyfriend was in Central Park when someone put their hands over their eyes and said, "Guess who?!" When they turned around, they saw it was Bill Murray! He then whispered, "If you tell people about this, no-one will ever believe you." And like that, he was gone.

10. Okay, okay, that one may just be one of those internet stories, but there's photographic proof that Murray likes to gatecrash other people's karaoke nights! "We were all shocked of course but at that point we were already pretty trashed so the party just kept going," budding singer Mike explains. "He was super nice and they all fit right in... The high point was when Bill and I sang a duet of an Elvis song called 'Marie's the Name'." Blimey!

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