Bill Murray first came to national attention when he joined “Saturday Night Live” in its second season to replace the departed Chevy Chase. Like many of his SNL colleagues of the era (Chase, John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd) Murray was able to parlay his television success into a film career. He first made his film mark in comedies but in later years would take on increasingly dramatic films as well, earning an Oscar nomination as Best Actor for “Lost in Translation” (2003). Murray would return to TV in 2015 for the HBO limited series “Olive Kitteridge,” for which he won an Emmy as Best Supporting Actor a suicidal man who becomes involved with the title character (Frances McDormand).
Murray’s career got off to a somewhat shaky start when he was cast in the first season of “Saturday Night Live” but unfortunately for Murray it was the wrong “SNL.” Instead of the classic program for NBC (for which he auditioned and came close to joining), Murray was cast on “Saturday Night Live with Howard Cosell” a variety program starring the overbearing ABC sportscaster. The show has been labeled one of “the greatest disasters in the history of television” by its director Don Mischer. The disaster and quick cancellation of the show worked out well for both Murray and the other “Saturday Night Live.” Murray became available to accept the job that would make him famous and the show got to use the title that they had always wanted to use from the beginning.
But it all worked out for the best, and we can now feature our choices as the greatest 15 films in Murray’s four-decade career. Take a tour and sound off in the comments about which are your selections as his best and worst.
– Original text and gallery published in March 2018.