During a recent Grantland podcast with ESPN honcho John Walsh, Bill Murray talked about (among many other things) his falling out and subsequent making up with frequent co-star and longtime friend Harold Ramis, who died this past February at age 69. Murray and Ramis met in the late 1960s at Second City, where Ramis was in a company with Murray’s older brother Brian.
The “fracture” in their relationship happened on the set of 1993’s film “Groundhog Day,” when Murray observed with chagrin that Ramis had become something of a “mogul,” swaddled in his toasty parka behind the camera and surrounded by a “company” of associates “while the rest of us were freezing in front of the camera in mukluk boots and everything.” Murray said that period was “the longest winter I ever remember in my life. It lasted forever. It never ended.”
He and Ramis had artistic disagreements, as well.
“In the editing, I think we had a difference of opinion,” Murray told Walsh. “We had a difference about the script too. That gets a little personal and that’s not for sharing with everyone. But I just felt like a lot of what was in there was unnecessary. I thought there was a lot of overwriting in it. And I held Harold responsible for that.”
When Murray found out Ramis had become ill (he had a disease called vasculitis that caused a variety of serious health complications), he decided it was time to bury the hatchet. So he went to visit Ramis at his home in Glencoe.
“And it was great,” Murray said. “It was a beautiful day, obviously….There was sadness. I got to his beautiful home in the suburbs of Chicago. I went there. I sort of just showed up. I wasn’t expected. I went to the town. It was like ‘Fargo.’ It was freezing in Chicago and I sort of went, ‘I don’t exactly know where it is,’ and I was wandering around in circles in downtown and I just thought, ‘I can’t find this damn place,’ and I walked into the cop shop and said, ‘Excuse me, I’m trying to find…’ And they said, ‘Oh, you’re trying to find—you’re looking for Harold.’ [Here, Murray put on an exaggerated Chicago accent] ‘Oh, come on Marty, I’ll go…’ And this girl that looks like Frances McDormand with the earmuffs steps out with the vest and everything and leads me over to Harold’s house. [Murray put on the accent again] ‘Don’t tell him I told you ‘cause we’re never supposed to bring anybody, but I know you’re OK.’”
Listen to the whole interview at Grantland.com. It’s also posted on YouTube.