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Being Bill Murray

From Caddyshack to Lost in Translation, Midwestern-born Bill Murray has created some of Hollywood's most idiosyncratic characters.
Elvis Mitchell
From the Print Edition:
Bill Murray, Nov/Dec 2004

(continued from page 4)

"I was already working for a living, paying my own way—being a man. And one of the perks of being a man is smoking a cigar. It's one of the things you do; you get to live a little more expansively when you're paying your own way. Now, smoking a cigar might not be acceptable for an ordinary thirteen-year-old, but if you're paying your own way, you've earned it.

"I had serious romantic crushes on the Irish waitresses at the clubhouse restaurant. I could've walked up to this gorgeous red-haired Irish girl and begun a full-blown romance, because I really felt like I was a man. Now, she wasn't completely aware of my existence. But at that point, I felt like I was ready for the pleasures of a man.

"And you know what? Bringing cigars to the golf course is a part of that. Because people bring various levels of performance anxiety to the golf course and one of the things having smokes around says is that, this experience is gonna be a lotta things but not something so serious that you can't smoke a cigar. I love just sharing cigars. I don't have to smoke 'em so much to enjoy 'em. I've been giving the prop guy on the shoot some of my Cuban stash, and he just gets ecstatic. My favorite cigar is whichever one my friend is smoking, because I'll always say, 'I got some cigars. Which one would you like to smoke?' And he'll choose the one he'd like to smoke. And that's my thing — to me, it's something you do with someone. To me, it's not important that I smoke a cigar so long as someone does."

Elvis Mitchell is a former New York Times film critic and host of the popular culture public radio interview show "The Treatment."

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