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Bill Murray Explains His Bad Reputation in Rare Interview from 1988

Today, the typical Bill Murray anecdote will tell of an incident in which the actor appears without warning in a perfect stranger’s life, makes that average joe’s next few seconds or minutes or hours infinitely more interesting, and then disappears as mysteriously as he entered the scene.

Apparently, this wasn’t always the narrative surrounding Murray, who in the 80s had a reputation for being “obnoxious.” That’s not us casting aspersions, but a sentiment expressed by Murray himself in an October 1988 interview with T.J. English. Their conversation was recently animated as part of PBS Digital Studios’ series, Blank on Blank.

To start, the actor sums up why celebrities are prone to becoming jerks:

“I realize it’s impossible to have any sympathy, true sympathy, for people that are famous. People usually go through a bad period when they first get successful. You’re new and you’re hot: things go wrong. So you’re not really used to the attention, people treat you differently. What happens is you start taking that seriously, and then you start becoming an ass, then they treat you like an ass.”

In the raw conversation, Murray also speaks about his own reputation for being, per the interview’s title, “obnoxious”:

“I act like a jerk sometimes, and that’s sort of what the product is. You get these people who act like, ‘What the hell.’ When you act obnoxious towards people, like on a movie set, they say, ‘We’re ready for you,’ and I say, ‘Oh, go to hell, my feet hurt and my head aches.’ You want to have a margarita for lunch, and people, like these little ADs and production assistants, are like, ‘Well, he’s drinking again.’ Drinking again? Go to hell. All I ever do is make some movies that made a lot of money. Now leave me alone, I want to have some fun.”

The entire clip is illuminating, as Murray is rarely this candid in interviews today, usually preferring to keep up the mystical facade .

You can check the interview out in audio format as well, below.


HT: Laughing Squid

Featured image courtesy of Blank on Blank

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