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Bill Murray allegedly behaved inappropriately on his latest film. It’s not new territory

Bill Murray in a linen jacket and straw fedora.
Bill Murray at the 2021 Cannes Film Festival.
(Vadim Ghirda / Associated Press)

Actor Bill Murray, who has developed a reputation for becoming hostile toward his co-stars, has again made headlines for allegedly misbehaving at work.

According to Deadline, production on Searchlight Pictures’ “Being Mortal” was suspended this week after Murray was reportedly accused of exhibiting inappropriate behavior on set. The film adaptation of surgeon Atul Gawande’s bestselling book of the same name also stars Aziz Ansari, Keke Palmer and Seth Rogen.

Deadline reported Thursday that the Murray complaint did not involve Rogen or Ansari, who is also credited as writer and director of the picture. Slated to premiere next year, “Being Mortal” will mark Ansari’s feature directorial debut.

Filming on Aziz Ansari’s first feature, “Being Mortal,” was suspended over a reported complaint against co-star Bill Murray.

Searchlight Pictures confirmed Wednesday that the “Being Mortal” production had been suspended but would not comment on an ongoing investigation. A representative for Murray has not responded to multiple requests for comment.

Over the years, several people have accused the “Ghostbusters” star of becoming verbally and physically violent behind the scenes of his projects and in his personal life. Here is a sampling of allegations previously leveled against the screen icon.

Laura Ziskin

In 2003, “What About Bob?” producer Ziskin told The Times that Murray “threatened to throw me across the parking lot and then broke my sunglasses and threw them across the parking lot.”

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Ziskin also said Murray “playfully” threw her into a lake during a disagreement on the set of the 1991 comedy.

Chevy Chase

In 2008, Chase told radio host Howard Stern about an altercation that occurred between him and Murray behind the scenes at “Saturday Night Live.”

According to Chase — whom Murray replaced on “SNL” — his “Caddyshack” co-star “charged” him before taping a 1978 episode of the sketch comedy series. At the time, Murray had recently been added to the cast, and Chase had returned to host the show.

“I was probably a little full of myself after a year of fame or whatever,” Chase admitted. “I think that Billy probably wanted to knock me down a couple of rungs, and I think he wanted to take me on.

“And basically ... words were said just before the show, in the makeup room, and he got me really pissed. I finally went to his dressing room just before the show and opened the door and said, ‘If you say something like that again, I’m gonna’ — you know, whatever.”

On “The Howard Stern Show,” Chase said he later discovered that another “SNL” cast member, John Belushi, had bad-mouthed him to Murray before the encounter, laying the groundwork for their backstage brawl.

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“What happened was Billy jumped up from this couch ... and charged me at the door, and I immediately got into a fight stance,” Chase continued.

“I had no problem with fights. I was ready to level him, and he was probably ready to scratch me up. And at the same time ... John puts his hand on the door to block it off. And as I remember, I might have thrown a glancing punch off to [Belushi’s] forehead. And Billy I think might have hit him in the back of the head.”

Though Chase conceded that he and Murray have “never been close,” they have been “friendly,” played golf together and “made an effort over the years to get to know each other better and to put that stuff behind.”

Jennifer Butler

In May 2008, costume designer Butler filed for divorce from Murray and accused the comedian of abandonment, infidelity and abuse.

Butler and Murray share four children and were married for nearly 11 years. In divorce papers, Butler alleged that Murray “hit her in the face and then told her she was ‘lucky he didn’t kill her.’”

In a statement at the time, Murray’s attorney said he was “deeply saddened by the breakup of his marriage,” adding that he and Butler were “committed to the best interests of their children.”

McG

In a May 2009 interview with the Guardian, “Charlie’s Angels” director McG claimed Murray once headbutted him.

“An inch later and my nose would have been obliterated ...,” he added. “It’s a passionate industry.”

In a subsequent interview with the Times of London, Murray dismissed McG’s headbutt allegation as “complete crap,” adding that the filmmaker “deserves to die” for leveling it.

“I don’t know why he made that story up,” Murray said at the time. “He has a very active imagination.”

Richard Dreyfuss

Dreyfuss described Murray as a “drunken bully” in a June 2019 interview with Yahoo News in which he talked about working on films such as 1991’s “What About Bob?”

Intoxicated upon returning from a dinner, Murray allegedly approached Dreyfuss and “screamed at the top of his lungs, ‘Everyone hates you! You are tolerated!’”

“There was no time to react, because he leaned back and he took a modern glass-blown ashtray. He threw it at my face from [only a couple feet away],” Dreyfuss added.

“And it weighed about three-quarters of a pound. And he missed me. He tried to hit me. I got up and left.”

Lucy Liu

On a July 2021 episode of the The Times podcast “Asian Enough,” Liu recalled having to defend herself when Murray allegedly began to “hurl insults” at her on the set of “Charlie’s Angels.”

“Some of the language was inexcusable and unacceptable, and I was not going to just sit there and take it,” Liu told “Asian Enough” co-hosts Jen Yamato and Tracy Brown.

“So, yes, I stood up for myself, and I don’t regret it. Because no matter how low on the totem pole you may be or wherever you came from, there’s no need to condescend or to put other people down. And I would not stand down, and nor should I have.”

The actor and artist added that she has “nothing against” Murray, who has been “perfectly nice” to her since the incident.

Times staff writer Jen Yamato contributed to this report.


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