Bill Murray

image for Bill Murray
Exhibition Label
The actor and comedian Bill Murray seemed to arrive fully formed on Saturday Night Live in the 1970s—a confident rebel oddball born of Catholic school, a huge Chicago family, and the 1960s that added up to an alternative blueprint for American manhood. On film, it was as if he was bioengineered to tweak and threaten American institutions: summer camp, country clubs, the army. His persona had few precedents beyond, perhaps, Bugs Bunny—another creature with few natural advantages who survived on sheer wit and self-possession. In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Murray turned inward in Zen-tinged "self-improvement" comedies like Scrooged (1988) and Groundhog Day (1993). He was introduced to a third generation as the melancholy muse for young filmmakers, including Wes Anderson, Sofia Coppola, and Jim Jarmusch. His latest, strangest transformation remains in effect: he is a kind of perpetual wandering performance artist, popping up at birthday parties, kickball games, golf tournaments, and karaoke booths and in zombie films, wherever the wind and his fancy take him.
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution; gift of Ron Galella
Restrictions & Rights
© Ron Galella/Getty Images
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National Portrait Gallery Collection
Object number
Ron Galella, born 10 Jan 1931
Bill Murray, born 21 Sept 1950
Bill Murray: Male
Bill Murray: Performing Arts\Performer\Actor
Bill Murray: Performing Arts\Performer\Comedian
Gelatin silver print
Image: 29.8 × 27.9 cm (11 3/4 × 11")
Sheet: 35.3 × 27.9 cm (13 7/8 × 11")
National Portrait Gallery