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Ghostbusters Was So Popular, Bill Murray Left The Country After Its Release

In 1984, the supernatural comedy "Ghostbusters" was such a cultural sensation that it caused one of its stars to temporarily flee the country. Bill Murray was already a well-known comedic actor by the mid-1980s. He became something of a household name when he joined the cast of "Saturday Night Live" in 1977 during the show's second season. "SNL," by and large, was an extension of the work the funnyman did at Chicago's famed Second City, where a lot of his improv comedy counterparts first cut their teeth. Murray had early success in the film industry appearing in such classic comedies as "Meatballs," "Caddyshack," "Stripes," and "Tootsie."

In a 1990 interview with renowned film critic Roger Ebert, Murray credited his early success to Second City and said, "The reason so many Second City people have been successful is really fairly simple. At the heart of it is the idea that if you make the other actors look good, you'll look good." He continued, "But if you work for Second City, there's an audience, and you die in the improv set five times out of nine. So, once you get over your fear of dying, nothing else ever really scares you. And 'Saturday Night Live' was as tough as Second City. Once you get through those, making movies is a joke." All of the aforementioned movies Murray starred in were successes to a certain degree, but it was "Ghostbusters" that catapulted him to superstardom.

Ghostbusters was the biggest comedy moneymaker of all time in 1984, solidifying Murray as a blockbuster talent

In the same interview with Roger Ebert, Bill Murray talked about the success of spirit-hunting comedy and what it did for him at the time. Murray said, "Well, basically I thought that 'Ghostbusters' was the biggest thing that would ever happen to me. It was such a big phenomenon that I felt slightly radioactive." "Ghostbusters" was a smashing success and made over $229 million in the U.S. and Canada.

The success of the franchise starter, however, made Murray a bit uncomfortable. He continued, "So I just moved away for a while. I lived in Europe for six months or so, and I was supposed to do a movie when I came back, and when I came back, and I saw the script that I was supposed to do, I didn't want to do it." After "Ghostbusters," the next film starring Murray was the drama "The Razor's Edge. In fact, he only agreed to do "Ghostbusters" if Columbia Pictures would help him make his passion project "The Razor's Edge," which was shot before "Ghostbusters." After having cameos in 1986's "Little Shop of Horrors" and 1988's "She's Having a Baby," the next movie Murray actually led was "Scrooged," which was made four years after "Ghostbusters."

Murray described the time of his absence from the big screen after his European vacation. He said, "That put me a whole season behind, and then I went through a kind of funny thing. There are actual moviemaking seasons ... there would be this incredible amount of pressure. On Friday I'd get like 30 phone calls, and then on Monday no one would call, and I'd look in the paper, and someone else was doing the movie because I didn't say yes."