In the long list of the greatest people in American history, some names loom larger than others: George Washington. Thomas Jefferson. Ben Franklin. Abe Lincoln…
The Saturday Night Live veteran, and star of such classics as Stripes, Meatballs, Caddyshack and Ghostbusters, has had one of the longest and most distinguished careers in Hollywood. And he has managed to do what very few stars have been able to do: stay relevant, reinvent himself, and balance the weight of his tremendous fame and talent with humility and authenticity.
I mean, you just can’t help but love the guy!
In his later roles (Rushmore, Broken Flowers, St. Vincent, etc.) Murray’s charm and comedic wit is tempered with a deep, existential sadness… the tragic heart of the human condition. But he doesn’t just portray that essential sadness, and bring it to life – he ennobles it, and thereby ennobles us all.
Bill Murray is so much more than just an actor, or comedian. He is a cultural icon, a man of the people, and the very embodiment of awesome. He’s a living legend, with wisdom to impart.
And here is that wisdom, distilled. 14 brilliant Bill Murray quotes you’ve most likely never heard before…
- “I live a little bit on the seat of my pants, I try to be alert and available. I try to be available for life to happen to me. We’re in this life, and if you’re not available, the sort of ordinary time goes past and you didn’t live it. But if you’re available, life gets huge. You’re really living it.” ~ from an interview with Charlie Rose
- “It’s extremely powerful to say no. It’s really the most powerful thing to say.” ~ from an interview with the Washington Post
- “I made a lot of mistakes, and realized I had to let them go. Don’t think about your errors or your failures, otherwise you’ll never do a thing.” ~ from an interview with The Guardian
- “When my kids ask what I want for my birthday or Christmas or whatever, I use the same answer my father did: ‘Peace and quiet.’ That was never a satisfactory answer to me as a kid — I wanted an answer like “A pipe.” But now I see the wisdom of it: All I want is you at your best — you making this an easier home to live in, you thinking of others.” ~ from an interview with Esquire
- “I’m much more of a whole person when I’m working. I’m more collected, I’m more connected, I’m more there… So my challenge is to try to live as well when I’m not working as when I’m working.” ~ from an interview with the Washington Post
- “It’s hard to be an artist. It’s hard to be anything. It’s hard to be.” ~ from an interview with the Independent
- “You gotta commit. You’ve gotta go out there and improvise and you’ve gotta be completely unafraid to die. You’ve got to be able to take a chance to die. And you have to die lots. You have to die all the time.” ~ from an interview with Esquire
- “You have to do whatever you can to stay relaxed. There’s tension in your brain, in your system, in your emotions. So you have to spread the awareness around to your various parts, then they can connect and go to work. I try to keep it light. Keep it positive. I am basically all about having fun.” ~ from his interview with TimeOut London
- “The more relaxed you are, the better you are at everything: the better you are with your loved ones, the better you are with your enemies, the better you are at your job, the better you are with yourself.” ~ from the New York Times
- When asked about his outrageous interactions with the public, he replied: “My hope, always, is that it’s going to wake me up. I’m only connected for seconds, minutes a day, sometimes. And suddenly, you go, ‘Holy cow, I’ve been asleep for two days. I’ve been doing things, but I’m just out.’ If I see someone who’s out cold on their feet, I’m going to try to wake that person up. It’s what I’d want someone to do for me. Wake me the hell up and come back to the planet.” ~ from Rolling Stone
- When asked, “How does it feel to be Bill Murray?” he replied: “There’s a wonderful sense of well-being that begins to circulate, up and down your spine. And you feel something that makes you almost want to smile. So what’s it like to be me? Ask yourself, ‘What’s it like to be me?’ The only way we’ll ever know what it’s like to be you is if you work your best at being you as often as you can, and keep reminding yourself that’s where home is.” ~ from a Q & A in Toronto, CA
- When asked whether he ever has bad days, he answered: “When I feel I’m stuck, I do something… not like I’m Mother Theresa, or anything, but there’s someone who’s forgotten about in your life, all the time. Someone who could use an ‘Attaboy,’ or a ‘How you doin’ out there?’ It’s that sort of a scene, remembering that we die alone. We’re born alone. We do need each other. It’s lonely to really effectively live your life, and anyone you can give help to, or get help from, that’s part of your obligation.” ~ from his New York Times interview
- When asked about how the lessons he learned from Improv applied to life: “It pays off when you’re in an elevator and people are uncomfortable. You can just say, ‘That’s a beautiful scarf.’ It’s just thinking about making someone else feel comfortable. You don’t worry about yourself, because we’re vibrating together. If I can make yours just a little bit groovier, it’ll affect me. It comes back, somehow.” ~ from his New York Times interview
- When asked about the meaning of life, he replied: “As I once said to one of my brothers, ‘This is your life, not a rehearsal.’ Somewhere there’s a score being kept, so you have an obligation to live life as well as you can, be as engaged as you can. The human condition means that we can zone out and forget what the hell we’re doing. So the secret is to have a sense of yourself, your real self, your unique self. And not just once in a while, or once a day, but all through the day, the week and life.” ~ from an interview with TimeOut London