Bill Murray says a 19th-century French painting helped him when he was struggling with suicidal thoughts.
Footage of the actor discussing the artwork has resurfaced this Monday (August 2) on social media after being shared by screenwriter and filmmaker Todd Spence.
Murray recalled a night from when he first started acting in Chicago, noting that he wasn’t very good, and walked off stage. It was on his hours-long walk that he “walked the wrong direction,” and not in the sense of being lost but rather in terms of the desire to stay alive.
The Groundhog Day actor proceeded to head towards the lake to “float for a while after I’m dead.” As he realized where he was, he instead walked towards the Art Institute of Chicago. Recalling a painting he saw inside named The Song of the Lark, Murray felt inspired that he is a person that gets another chance when the sun comes up.
Bill Murray talks about the painting that stopped him from committing suicide after being asked if there were a moment how art has made a difference in his life. Watch til the end to see the painting. pic.twitter.com/LZzfn0eNrS— Spence, Todd (@Todd_Spence) August 2, 2021
The above clip took place in 2014 during a press conference for the film The Monuments Men, the Independent notes. Murray was asked by a journalist during the event whether he could point out a time when art made an impact on his life.
The Song of the Lark is an 1884 painting by French naturalist painter Jules Adolphe Breton. It features a woman standing in a field, a sickle in hand, with the sun behind her.
“I’ve always loved this painting,” Murray said. “I saw it that day and I just thought, ‘Well, here’s a girl who doesn’t have a lot of prospects, but the sun’s coming up anyway, and she’s got another chance at it.’ 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.”