Two Autographs, One Day

Image courtesy of Memphis CVB
We’d like to thank Mitch Henderson for sharing this story.

This is how I remember it. It was May 2005 and the Memphis humidity had begun its flow onto the TPC at Southwind. Having heard that Bill Murray was playing in the FedEx St. Jude Classic Pro Am I decided to try my luck in getting an autograph for my 10 year old who was enamored with Bill. This was after watching “What About Bob” about 1,603,219 times.

With no ticket, no permission and little sense I went under the rope at the tee for the sixth hole, loped up to Bill without a pen or paper and asked for his autograph for my son.

He asked, “Where is your son?”

“In school.” I replied.

“A likely story. You want the autograph.”

“No. It really is for my son. He has watched ‘What About Bob’ so much I think he has worn out the DVD.”

“What’s your name?”

“Mitch… and he is a big fan of yours.”

“Well Mitch, I don’t do autographs.” I wasn’t sure if he was serious or just being Bill Murray and not wanting to linger awkwardly, I walked away towards the nearest building, somewhere between being bummed out and being elated having had a brief dialogue with Bill Murray.

While still walking, I heard Bill yell “Hey Mitch!” and turned around to catch a glimpse of him penning something on a golf ball and then he proceeded to throw it to me. Scurrying to get into a good position to catch it through the crowd, I was surprised to see some crumb snatcher do a sideways dive about five feet in front of me, catching the ball, and scurrying off. Bill saw the whole thing and my face must have shown my extreme dismay. He shrugged as if to say “Oh well, I tried.”

After relaying my story to some people, I was handed a souvenir tournament flag and a Sharpie coupled with encouragement to try again. I did. Somewhere on the fairway of the seventh hole, I caught up to him again and the growing crowd he was drawing. After what seemed like an eternity of trying not to look creepy and waiting for an opportunity to approach him, I finally stepped up.

“Too bad about the ball, Mitch.”

“Yeah. Would you sign a flag for me?”

“I thought you said it was for your son. You’re going to sell it on EBay aren’t you?”

“It is… I meant…”

Bill took the flag and Sharpie and scrawled his signature on it. While doing so he told me he was going to be watching EBay to see if I was lying to him.

I thanked him and took my prize. My son was over-the-moon with excitement to get his flag.

Bill Murray Dissed Me and Broke My Grandad’s Water Ski

We’d like to thank Jamie Kane for today’s story.

My aunt Jill dated Bill Murray in high school. I knew this growing up, and like everyone, I was a huge Bill Murray fan. Whenever we were all quoting classic movie lines on the playground, I’d bring this up – but it didn’t buy me much street cred because, at the time, I was 10. One summer around 1984, I was up at my Grandparent’s summer home in Green Lake, Wisconsin and my aunt Jill happened to be visiting. I was at the local golf course hitting golf balls on the driving range, and Jill pulls up and asks me if I want to go meet Bill Murray. I’m all in.

Bill’s mom had a house on the same lake, and my aunt explained on the drive that we were actually going there to recover a water ski that had been borrowed earlier that week by the Murray brothers. The reason why I was going to finally meet Bill Murray made no difference to 5th grade me.

We arrived at Mrs. Murray’s house and parked the car. We walked around the house and out onto a huge lawn towards Green Lake. About 100 yards away, I saw him playing ball with his son Homer (I think Homer’s middle name is “Banks” after Ernie Banks). As aunt Jill and I walked across this giant lawn, I was getting progressively more nervous to meet him. When we got to him, he gave my aunt a hug and then he turned to me, trademark grin.

Aunt Jill: “Bill, I’d like you to meet my nephew Jamie”

Bill Murray (shaking the outstretched hand of a dumbstruck kid):

“What kind of a name is “Jamie” for a guy?”

Decades later, still not over it, turns out that he and his brothers had actually somehow broken the water ski they had borrowed from our boat house (how do you break a water ski?) Bill had to come back to the house with us (after stopping at the liquor/ski store in town) and explain everything to my Granddad – who he had, years before, met while picking my aunt up for the prom. My Granddad Jack Thomas was not impressed either time.

It was worth it watching him squirm through a few innings of a Cubs game with my Granddad and me after dissing the name “Jamie”. Our families’ favorite autograph, which he gave one of my many cousins that afternoon, was:

“Brush your teeth, and don’t hitchhike… Bill Murray”

Meeting Bill at Pebble Beach as a Kid

We’d like to thank Phoenix for sharing this story.

My story isn’t as exciting or cool as some of the others on this site, but I can say that I had the luck to meet BFM – twice!

I was a kid, about 10-11 years old, participating in the Golf Club at the local Boys & Girls Club (around ’98, I believe). Every year we got the opportunity to help out at the AT&T Pro-Am (held at the Monterey Peninsula Country Club in Pebble Beach, CA). Needless to say, this event was always packed with all sorts of celebrities and moneyed people – a lot of people I didn’t care too much about as a kid. But then there’s Bill Murray.

I remember hearing all of our “care-takers” going on and on about Bill Murray; I just kept thinking, “Where!? Where!?” From the large dining room where we were enjoying our lunches, I could hear him in the distance. So I decided that I was going to get this man’s autograph. I walked over to his table with a ball-cap in my hand and asked if he would sign it.

Without hesitation, he says, “Oh, sure thing, kid!” as he gives me a huge kiss on my cheek. I do believe he was asking me questions but I was so fixated on him I don’t remember what else he may have asked. He signed my hat and handed it; I walked away on clouds! I met him again the next year, same place and event. I went up to him and asked if he remembered me, to which he responded, “Of course I do!” and gave me another kiss on the cheek.

Whether or not he really remembered me, I’ll never know. All of the older women kept telling everyone else about how Bill Murray kissed me on the cheek. The only celebrity encounter that I will truly, never forget! Wish I took a picture.

Super Bowl XX

We’d like to thank Joe for today’s story.

My grandfather’s friend worked for the McCaskey family and the Bears in the 70’s and 80’s, so she threw our family a couple tickets to Super Bowl XX. My uncle and cousin, both in their early 20’s at the time, wound up going to the game.

Since they were guests of the team, they got to go to one of the official Bears’ post game parties. There were several celebrities and athletes at the event that they chatted with, as everyone was drinking and celebrating the Bears’ victory (no, he didn’t meet Ditka or the Fridge).

After grabbing a drink my uncle turned around to see Bill Murray standing behind him. He freaked out a bit, as one doesn’t meet many celebrities in South Texas. He went to shake his hand and managed to sputter out, “Mr. Murray, I’ve always wanted to meet you.” Murray knocked his hand aside and grabbed him in a big hug and yelled, “And I’ve always wanted to meet you!” Our cousin said my uncle was more excited about this 10 second interaction than he was about the game.

At the Orchestra

We’d like to thank Stephen for sharing this story.

I was 13 and it was towards the end of my 7th grade year. At the time, I played violin (3rd chair) in an orchestra of students in grades 7-12.

I was sitting in my seat on-stage when my phone vibrated. It was my mom texting to let me know where she was sitting. Looking over, it all clicked when I noticed Bill Murray was sitting right in front of my mom.

I proceeded to leave my seat, walk over to my mother, and confirm that this Bill Murray was both the famous actor and the father of a friend of mine in the orchestra. Overhearing our conversation, he asked me to sit next to him and we had a conversation about the orchestra.

Next thing I knew, everyone was tuning their instruments. At that point I was prepared to not play in the show – instead simply sitting where I was next to Bill Freaking Murray. I think he picked up on this, so he thanked me for my company, told me my tie was crooked, fixed it, and sent me on my way with the inspiring words “Get the hell up there!

I’ve seen him many times since, but this one stuck in my head. He was there to support his own son, yet still managed to squeeze in something meaningful to a young fan like me without taking attention away from the kids in the orchestra.

Bill Murray is the shit.