Here's something light for a Friday, and maybe you know about it already: a site devoted entirely to Bill Murray stories. It's not new, but it seems to be ever-growing. "Bill Murray and the Autographed Baseball." Murray golfing on Long Island. Murray rubbing noses with a woman because she declined to shake his hand for religious reasons. "You crazy Eskimo girl!" And on and on and on.
Years ago, before my Sun-Times days, I had a brief and (pretty quickly in retrospect) amusing run-in with the abundantly talented, famously mercurial and often elusive Mr. Murray. While helping to research a biography on the late comic Andy Kaufman, I showed up at the old Goodman Theatre to see if I could get the Wilmette-bred former Second City star to recall any Andy memories from the 1970s.
After he finished a television interview onstage with then "Fox Thing in the Morning" hosts Bob Sirott and Marianne Murciano, my intent and I were brought to his attention. As he began talking a bit off-the-cuff about Andy (after declaring that the late "Taxi" star was dead and I should let him rest in peace -- fair enough), I stupidly held up my bulky tape recorder and asked something to the effect of, "Mind if I record this?" Boy, did he mind. "Whoa!" he declared. "I knew you were creepy!"
He was at one end of the room, I at the other. The audience of spectators between us was surely entertained, or at least bemused, by the exchange -- most of which I've forgotten. Or blocked out.
But I held, and hold, no grudges. At an event later that evening, I even bought four of the golf memoirs Murray was in town to hawk. More important -- and far less expensively -- I had a Bill Murray story of my very own to tell. Over and over and over again.