Home Empire State of Mind Remembering the Real Bill Murray

Sad news this afternoon: Bill Murray — the real Bill Murray, not the actor — has passed away.

Bill was one of the most beloved figures in New York showbiz history. Just shy of his 70th birthday, Bill ran Celebrity Bulletin and Celebrity Service since 1979. (He actually started answering the phones there in 1977.)

With a charming presence and unflappable cool, Bill was the one who kept New York running all these years. How he kept all the publicists and journalists straight is a mystery. But if there was an event in New York that worth knowing about, Bill knew all the details.

He was also a terrific writer and had a sharp eye as a theatre and movie critic. I can think of so many times we’d laugh about films or plays that had been touted to us as “blockbusters” only to lay eggs in every direction. No one was more gently amused than Bill. He had a terrific sense of humor, a beautiful spirit, and a tremendous sense of friendship. I will miss him very much.

Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. He wrote the Intelligencer column for NY Magazine in the mid 90s, reporting on the OJ Simpson trial, as well as for the real Parade magazine (when it was owned by Conde Nast), and has written for the New York Observer, Details, Vogue, Spin, the New York Times, NY Post, Washington Post, and NY Daily News among many publications. He is the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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