The Second City takes top billing this weekend, as the staff here at SeanMcCallum.com will be hitting up the great city of Chicago for my buddy Foley's stag. It promises to be one of those legendary, debauchery-filled weekends with a game plan that includes blues bars and bleacher seats, and a roll-call of attendees that reads like a murderer's row of noteworthy dotcomrades.
To honour all that the City of Chicago has to offer, we'll be paying tribute to a different famous son (of which there are almost too many to count) everyday here on the blog.
No mention of Chicago would be complete without a tip-of-the-cap to all of the great comedic actors who have cut their teeth in the home of The Second City. The list reads like a who's who of the comedy world: John Belushi, Edgar Bergen, Steve Carell, John and Joan Cusak, John Favreau, Tina Fey, Dennis Farina, Chris Farley, Ron Livingston, Bernie Mac, William H. Macy, John Malkovich, Frances McDormand, Jeremy Piven, John C. Riley, Vince Vaughn, Robin Williams... Hell, even Laurence Tureaud (that's Mr. T to you, sucka!) is from Chicago.
But for my money, nobody better encapsulates the quality of Thespian talent that the City of Chicago has been able to consistently churn out, than Bill Murray.
From his early days on SNL and his roles in the decade-defining classics Meatballs, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters, it was pretty obvious that we were witnessing something special. Bill Murray has always been one of those actors that has an undeniable charisma, and that inexplicable je ne said quoi whereby you just can't help but to never take your eyes off of him. The dry wit and dead-panned honesty for which he is now known began to reveal itself in the likes of Groundhog Day (one of my all-time top-10 movies), Ed Wood, and The Royal Tenenbaums, and his performance in Lost in Translation is the stuff of which legends are made.
With Bill Murray, you never get the sense that he's acting. It's as if every role was written specifically for Bill Murray to play himself. I don't know if there is a better compliment that can be bestowed upon an actor.
A lifelong Cubbies fan, a die-hard golfer, and the least "Hollywood" of all Hollywood celebrities; if we could only all be just a little bit more like Bill Murray, the world would be an infinitely better place.