If there was ever a good reason to skip school, it might just be Bill Murray Day.
The Toronto International Film Festival declared Friday Bill Murray Day and called on fans of the quirky comedic actor to dress up as his beloved characters in a costume contest and see screenings of films "Stripes," "Groundhog Day," and "Ghostbusters." Murray maniacs gladly accepted the invitation, arriving outfitted in costumes of beloved Murray characters, from his ocean explorer Steve Zissou to his Army cadet from "Stripes."
And although Murray is famously elusive and unpredictable, organizers announced late Thursday that he would be there for his own day, taking questions from fans after "Ghostbusters" and the world premiere of his film "St. Vincent." Ivan Reitman, director of "Stripes" and "Ghostbusters," was on hand to introduce each film.
"Toronto's celebration dedicated to the man is well-deserved and we are immensely excited that he'll be there in the flesh to celebrate with us and his huge legion of fans," Hollywood mogul Harvey Weinstein, executive producer of "St. Vincent," said in a statement.
The 63-year-old actor from the Chicago suburb of Wilmette got his foothold in American comedy on "Saturday Night Live" and went on to star in films "Meatballs," "Caddyshack," "Stripes," "Ghostbusters," and "Groundhog Day" in offbeat roles that earned him a following of hard-core fans.
Murray later moved toward more dramatic roles, usually inflected with his trademark humor, like the fading actor in "Lost in Translation," for which he earned a Best Actor Oscar nomination. In "St. Vincent," Murray plays a cantankerous retiree with a few vices who becomes the unlikely mentor to a 12-year-old neighbor. The movie co-stars Melissa McCarthy of “The Heat,” “Birdman” actress Naomi Watts, McCarthy’s “Bridesmaids” co-star Chris O’Dowd, and “The Best Man Holiday” actor Terrence Howard. “St. Vincent” is scheduled to open in the US on Oct. 24.