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Bill Murray health: “I was ready to die” – actor recalls overcoming suicidal thoughts

As a young comedian, Murray was on the brink of suicide. In an interview from 2014 which has recently gone viral, the star spoke about his early days as a comedian performing in Chicago.

He said how when he first started, he “wasn’t very good” and had little “desire to stay alive”.

“I remember my first experience on the stage — I was so bad, I just walked out on the street and started walking.

“I walked for a couple of hours and I realised I had walked the wrong direction — not just the wrong direction in terms of where I lived, but the wrong direction in terms of a desire to stay alive,” he recalled.

One day, the actor headed for Lake Michigan to end his own life.

“If I’m going to die… maybe i’ll float for awhile,” he said.

But the desperate comedian never ended his own life.

On his way to the lake, Murray found himself in front of the Art Institute of Chicago, compelled to head inside.

He said he walked in “because I was ready to die”.


He was stunned by an 1884 painting called “The Song of the Lark”, which showed a peasant woman in a field with a gorgeous orange sunrise behind her.

“I’ve always loved this painting,” he said in the interview decades after the event.

“I saw it that day and I just thought, ‘Well, there’s a girl who doesn’t have a lot of prospects, but the sun is coming up anyway, and she’s got another chance at it.’

“So I think that gave me some sort of feeling that I, too, am a person and get another chance every day the sun comes up.”

Over his life, Murray has opened up about experiencing symptoms of depression.

In an interview with The Washington Post, discussing his feelings after a breakup, he said: “No person could make me smile, no person could make me glad in any way. I was a really, really unfortunate character for a pretty long time.

According to the Samaritan’s latest data, there were 4912 suicides in 2020.

The Movember foundation suggests that three out of four suicides in the UK are by men.

Help and support for suicidal thoughts is available immediately, 24 hours a day via the Samaritans helpline 116 123 and other helplines on the NHS website.

Although the causes of suicidal thoughts can be complex, mental health problems, such as depression, is one of the most significant determining factors.

The symptoms of depression, as stated on the NHS website, are:

  • feeling hopeless and helpless
  • having low self-esteem
  • feeling tearful
  • feeling guilt-ridden
  • feeling irritable and intolerant of others
  • having no motivation or interest in things
  • finding it difficult to make decisions
  • not getting any enjoyment out of life
  • feeling anxious or worried
  • having suicidal thoughts or thoughts of harming yourself.

There is also a number of physical symptoms, including lack of energy, low sex drive, constipation, changes to your menstrual cycle, disturbed sleep, and changes in appetite.



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