Love Object: Bill Murray

Some artists attract irrational devotion. Bill Murray is one such love object.

Sofia Coppola wrote Lost in Transaltion for Murray, and only Murray, though he played his usual hide-and-seek game in making Coppola suffer for her art. This, even though he had already starred with her cousin, Jason Schwartzman, in Wes Anderson's Rushmore, one of the most charming American movies made in the last few years, worthy of being compared to Preston Sturges.

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There are many of us who will watch Murray in anything. His projects, of late, have been few. He recently showed up for a cameo in Anderson's The Darjeeling Limited, which is a visual treat and drenched in deadpan.

Alas, to love an artist is not the same as to live with one. Today in the Inquirer's SideShow, Tirdad Derakshani -- the world's leading existential gossip columnist -- reports that Murray's wife of a decade, Jennifer Butler Murray, is filing for divorce. 

The reasons are not pretty, as Tirdad quotes "adultery, marijuana and alcohol addictions,...physical abuse, sexual addictions and frequent abandonment." Court papers state that in November Murray "hit his wife in the face and then told her she was 'lucky he didn't kill her.' "

Sigh. In Rushmore, Murray played a petty, alcoholic businessman who felt no affection for his sons but utter competition with a gentle, outcast teenage boy. It's a remarkable performance, one of the best. Murray will soon appear as Agent 13 in Get Smart, opening June 20.

At times, it would be nice if the old studio system were in place and such knowledge of wonderful performers wasn't known yet we feel for Jennifer Butler. It's a quandary as to how to appreciate artists who may be lesser people when they're not performing.  

Here are the sad documents from The Smoking Gun:

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