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Bill Murray Says Painting Stopped Him From Taking His Own Life

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Bill Murray Says Painting Stopped Him From Taking His Own Life

Bill Murray is an all-time great of course, but things could have turned out very different for him if not for a painting he says saved his life.

Now 70 years old and with a lifetime of acting highlights behind him, Murray is renowned as an unpredictable maverick, a comedian extraordinaire who also possesses a delicately serious turn as best personified in 2003's Lost In Translation - for which he was nominated for an Oscar.

However, right back at the beginning of his career things weren't going so well and - as he recalled in a 2014 press conference - it took a painting to turn his life round.

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Murray told this story during a London press tour for The Monuments Men - George Clooney's war film that sees a group of Allies attempt to save pieces of art and other artifacts during World War II before the Nazis can destroy them.

In a clip that has recently resurfaced on Twitter, Murray is asked by a journalist what art has meant to him in his life, and the actor recalled how a painting had helped him deal with suicidal thoughts following what he describes as a disastrous stage appearance.

Credit: PA
Credit: PA

According to Murray, his performance was so bad he simply walked out of the theatre and carried on walking.

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He said: "I'd realised I'd walked the wrong direction - not just the wrong direction in terms of where I lived, but the wrong direction in terms of a desire to stay alive.

"I then thought, 'Well if I'm going to die where I am, I may as well just go over towards the lake and maybe I'll float for a while after I'm dead'."

He walked for hours, only to end up in front of the Art Institute of Chicago.

At this point, Murray went inside and came across Jules-Adolphe Breton's painting 'The Song of the Lark'.

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It changed everything.

The actor said: "I thought, 'Well there's a girl who doesn't have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun's coming up anyway and she's got another chance at it'.

"So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I, too, am a person and I get another chance everyday the sun comes up."

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The rest, as they say, is history.

Murray rose to fame in the late '70s on Saturday Night Live and then progressed to film, where you barely need reminding that he starred in the all-time classic Ghostbusters, as well as Stripes, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, along with numerous collaborations with Wes Anderson.

You can still see 'The Song of the Lark' too, should you wish, as it's still exhibiting in exactly the same spot at the Art Institute of Chicago.

Featured Image Credit: PA

Topics: Entertainment, TV and Film, Celebrity

Simon Catling
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