But, Murray isn’t just a great actor and comedian. He’s got a reputation as an oddball and eccentric dude. He doesn’t let people just ring him up on his cell phone (not even Sofia Coppola). He has them call a 1-800 number and leave a message—then maybe he’ll call back. There’s also a whole website called BillMurrayStory.com that has peoples’ weird and strange encounters with the guy. Who wouldn’t love to bump into the man?
So here are our picks for the Top 5 best Bill Murray roles. Feel free to disagree if you want—there are a lot more than five.
One of the all time classic comedies. Murray plays Carl Spackler, who comes to a fancy and exclusive golf course only to find that he doesn’t really fit in with their rules and regulations. His Ghostbusters co-star Harold Ramis directed this classic knee-slapper. Oh, and there’s that gofer. Watching Murray as Spackler battle the gofer infestation is one for the history books on hilarity.
It’s not like Murray hadn’t done independent films before this one (he was in Ed Wood with Johnny Depp), but this Wes Anderson flick breathed new life into Murray’s career. Not that it needed new life—but a new audience never hurts. He played lovelorn Herman Blume, a guy who befriends loveable prep school outcast Max Fischer and then falls for Max’s pretty teacher Rosemary. Murray is great as the imperfect but sweet mentor to Max, and his subtle, under the radar performance is a great example of a pro making it look easy.
3 Lost in Translation
A few years after his performance in Rushmore, Sofia Coppola stalked Bill Murray (she had to call his 1-800 number) and convinced him to star in her film about a May-December romance. He plays Bob Harris, an American in Tokyo who meets a younger, married Scarlett Johansson. He’s funny but also moving—he never tries to get the laugh, which is why he’s so great. The karaoke scene is especially great.
If you haven’t seen this hilarious 1970s summer camp flick, put it in your queue immediately. Under the same director as Ghostbusters, Bill Murray stars as Tripper, a good-hearted but slacker camp counselor who wears teeny tiny shorts (hey, it was the 70s). This movie definitely inspired Wet Hot American Summer and is the O.G. summer camp movie.
Murray played Dr. Peter Venkman in this classic comedy about a group of out of work parapsychology professors who start a business to remove ghosts—a sort of like paranormal pest control. The team comprised of Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis was pretty epic, and Murray’s deadpan style has rarely been better. There are rumors swirling that Ghostbusters III is in the works with the original cast, so let’s cross our fingers that it becomes a reality. In the meantime, check out the original.