Like many fans, I cannot get enough of Bill Murray. Yes, I enjoy his movies and television work, but those aren’t what drive my fascination. It’s his attitude… his lifestyle… the way he seems to look at the world as if there’s some joke I’m missing. He got rid of his agents and has an 800-number for people to leave messages that he mostly ignores. He loves to photobomb, and has been known to crash events such as kickball games and bachelor parties. He’s eccentric or amazingly well-mannered or rude or generous… it all depends on who you ask, apparently. He’s Bill Murray.
If you’re a fan of the man… you’ve got to grab yourself a copy of The Big Bad Book of Billy Murray. Now. There is no official biography (although he did publish a memoir of sorts in 1999) and there probably won’t ever be one since it seems no one can ever seem to pin the man down for any length of time. But there are so many documented stories, co-stars, and interviews out there, that author Robert Schnakenberg has taken a crack at an unofficial bio of sorts.
Organized alphabetically, the book focuses on just about anything and everything you’ve ever heard about Mr. Murray… and plenty that you have not. Yes, all the major movies are in there, including pretty much all the minor films as well as a few that are unlikely to ever see the light of day again. Starting with About Last Night and ending with Zombieland, this 270 page full-color book is a Murray fan’s dream, with so many great photos of the man and his life. Topics include Murray co-stars, holidays and how he celebrates them (or not), favorite cars (Maserati) and drinks, and hobbies. Further topics cover his training as an actor, his siblings, his marriages, his children, and movies where he was considered for a lead role but elected to pass or wasn’t selected for one reason or another. (Seriously… why would you ever pass on Bill Murray?)
Scattered between the alphabetical sections are Tales from Murrayland that typically contain funny and/or observations of some of Mr. Murray’s more famous escapades that include crashing weddings, playing for a minor league baseball team, and a pick-up kickball game with some surprised fans who initially didn’t recognize the man who just walked onto the field. The book wraps up with a few pages of excellent Bill Murray quotations and then a couple pages of OTHER people’s quotes ON Bill Murray. A complete Filmography is nice, and the author also includes a bibliography of his sources.
I doubt there are few people who truly understand Bill Murray, but readers of this book will be much further along than the rest of the world. The Big Bad Book of Bill Murray doesn’t paint Bill Murray as perfect, but who is, really? One thing you’ll take away from the book is this — Bill Murray is his own man. He does it his way, and he makes no apologies for it.