Sure, Bill Murray might show up at your ice-cream social, minor-league-baseball game, and bachelor party for an amusing cameo. But Murray also has a serious, contemplative side, which he displayed during a recently published interview withThe Guardian. The paper’s conversation with the actor veered through unexpected terrain, like Catholic mass and politics, landing on the one present-day figure whom Murray really champions: Ralph Nader.
After calling the 80-year-old political activist “the greatest living American,” he proceeded to explain his reasoning, citing Nader’s crusade for automobile safety in the 60s.
“People thought: ‘Why is this son of a gun making me wear a seatbelt?’ Well, in 1965 I think the number was 55,000 deaths on the highway a year. That’s a lot of people dying. So he’s saved just about a couple of million people by now. It’s crazy! And that’s just one thing he did!
“I mean, they made a movie about the German who smuggled the Jews out. He saved hundreds. Great man. Deserved a movie. Spectacular. Great film and a great human being. But this guy, Ralph—there’s no movies about Ralph.”
Murray’s fondness for Nader is not a new revelation—the comedian campaigned for the Green Party candidate during his 2000 presidential run. His Nader tangent continued:
“Businesses bitch about this guy and people hate him because he’s trying to make change. He hasn’t become, like, super-crazy-wealthy or anything and it’s not about his celebrity. He’s really interested in improving the quality of life for the whole world. Not just America, the entire world.”
The actor, whose family is Irish Catholic, also took a moment to gripe about modern-era Catholic masses. “I think we lost something by losing the Latin. Now if you go to a Catholic mass even just in Harlem it can be in Spanish, it can be in Ethiopian, it can be in any number of languages.” And it’s not just the Latin he misses. “I really miss the music—the power of it, y’know?” he says. “Sacred music has an affect on your brain.” The actor says he isn’t interested in hearing “folk songs” or “Top 40 stuff” at church.
Now if you ever catch the actor in a solemn mood, you have some appropriate talking points.