Art gave Murray 'another chance'
Published 11/02/2014 | 16:52
Bill Murray has told of the power of art as he recalled how a striking painting brought him back from the brink when he feared his life was not worth living.
The actor disclosed his brush with suicidal thoughts at the National Gallery in London as he joined his co-stars launching new movie The Monuments Men about a special troupe of soldiers on a mission to recover art stolen by the Nazis from Europe in the Second World War.
The 63-year-old Oscar-nominated star explained how he had stumbled by accident across a painting by French realist painter Jules Breton which gave him him hope in one of his darkest hours.
Murray told how he had been at a low ebb after doubting his abilities in the early days of his acting career in Chicago.
"I wasn't very good, and I remember my first experience, I was so bad I just walked out - out onto the street and just started walking.
"And I realised I'd walked in the wrong direction, not just the wrong direction to where I live, but the wrong direction in terms of the desire to stay alive.
"I then thought, well if I'm going to die where I am I may as well go over towards the lake and float for a while after I'm dead. So I walked over towards the lake and as I got there I hit Michigan Avenue and so I started walking north and I ended up in front of the art institute in Chicago.
"I just walked inside and I didn't feel I had any place being there. They used to ask you for a donation when you walk in, and I just walked right through because I was ready to die.
"And I walked in and there was a painting there, and I don't even know who painted it, but I think it's called The Song Of The Lark."
He went on: "It's a woman working in field and there's sunrise behind her, and I've always loved this painting. And I saw it that day and I thought, 'Well there's a girl who doesn't have a whole lot of prospects, but the sun's 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 I get another chance everyday the sun comes up."
The Monuments Men, is written and directed by George Clooney, who co-stars with Murray, Matt Damon, John Goodman, Bob Balaban, Jean Dujardin, Hugh Bonneville and Cate Blanchett.
:: The Monuments Men opens in cinemas on February 14.
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