When did Bill Murray become a national treasure? It was after his time on Saturday Night Live. It was after his first starring role in Meatballs. And it probably came after his turns in Caddyshack and Stripes. By the time he was playing Dr. Peter Venkman, it was starting to dawn on people that this man was a significant part of popular culture.
He had a tough time following up Ghostbusters and its runaway success. Scrooged was a moderate success, but Ghostbusters 2 and Quick Change didn’t have the same lasting impact as his earlier work, though in this episode Heather tries to make a case for Ghostbusters 2. Then came the 90s and his excellent work in What About Bob? and Groundhog Day.
Then in 1998, he made his first appearance in a Wes Anderson film Rushmore. For many this is the moment that his career changed. He went from successful comedic actor to serious thespian. It certainly brought more serious roles his way including an Oscar nomination for his work in Lost in Translation. Mr. Murray himself points to the Jim Jarmusch film Broken Flowers as perhaps his best work.
In 2016, he was honored with the Mark Twain Prize for American Humor. Now, it’s clearly recognized that Bill Murray is a once in a generation actor/comedian who’s become a national treasure.