Born on this day in 1950, William James Murray grew up in the suburbs of Chicago. Murray’s mother was a mailroom worker at American Hospital Supply Corp. for 17 years before her retirement in 1986. His father sold lumber. Together the couple raised nine children, four of which pursued careers in show business.
Since those days of growing up in Wilmette, Ill., and working as a caddy at the local country club, Murray has gone on to become one of the most revered comedy minds living today. The list of his numerous television and film roles is too long to include here. Instead, let’s consider what movies he hasn’t been in — specifically 1989’s Batman
It’s been reported that Murray was considered for the lead role of Bruce Wayne/Batman in the Tim Burton blockbuster. What would the world be like today if Murray had delivered Michael Keaton’s now classic line: “You wanna get nuts? Come on, let’s get nuts.”
In a 2014 interview with David Letterman, Murray acknowledged the long-standing rumors surrounding him and the Caped Crusader, joking that although he loved Michael Keaton in the role, he would have made an “awesome Batman.”
Perhaps Murray would have completely lost himself in the role and would now be spending his nights swinging from steeple to steeple across the Charleston skyline, subduing burglars and seducing women dressed as cats.
Murray was also in the running to play Indiana Jones in Raiders of the Lost Ark
. The role ultimately went to Harrison Ford, but if it hadn’t, maybe people would be trying to outrun giant foam boulders between innings at RiverDogs’ games.
But regardless of the roles that Murray has passed over during his celebrated career and how that would have affected the world today, there’s no arguing that Murray has definitely had an impact on Charleston and vice versa. So, if you read this and get a chance today, dedicate a birthday toast to the one-of-a-kind entertainer. Cheers, Mr. Murray.
Seeing as how Bill Murray has become a sort of modern-day folk hero amongst the people of Charleston — popping up randomly in the background of bar photos and trying to lift mayors at minor league baseball games — we at the City Paper would be remiss if we didn’t extend a warm “Happy birthday” to the man who has brought us all so much joy.