We like Bill Murray a lot around here, but we’re also pretty fond of his brother. Brian Doyle-Murray has been making great movies and TV for four decades. You probably recognize him from one of his many, many small but memorable roles, such as Lou Loomis in Caddyshack, Noah Vanderhoff in Wayne’s World, the mayor of Punxsutawney in Groundhog Day, and as the father of the “Bubble Boy” on Seinfeld, to name a few. Here’s a bunch of stuff you may not have known about Bill’s older brother.
1. He got the “Doyle” from his grandma.
That hyphenated name suggests that Doyle-Murray and Bill Murray are half or step-brothers. They’re not—they’re full, biological bros (Brian is five years older than Bill). Doyle-Murray added in the Doyle early in his career to avoid confusion and competition with Bill. The Doyle isn’t his middle name either; it’s his grandmother’s maiden name.
2. There are lots of Murray children.
Doyle-Murray comes from a family of nine children—six boys in all. There’s Brian, of course, and Bill, and also Joel Murray, a character actor who’s been in tons of things but is probably most famous for portraying Freddy Rumsen on Mad Men. Brother Andy Murray is a chef who runs the CaddyShack Restaurant at the World Golf Village in Florida, which is owned by all the Murray brothers.
3. He co-wrote Caddyshack.
The restaurant is obviously named after Caddyshack, the best damn sports movie of all time. Not only are there two Murrays in the movie, but Brian Doyle-Murray co-wrote it. Along with Harold Ramis and Doug Kenney, Doyle-Murray wrote the golf comedy. They went with a golf comedy because their other ideas were rejected by Orion Pictures: a dark comedy about American Nazis in Illinois, and an old fashioned Western with Communist themes. Doyle-Murray came up with the idea of a movie about caddies at a country club and pitched it as “Animal House on a golf course.” Orion said yes.
4. Much of Caddyshack is based on his personal experiences.
A lot of the movie’s episodes were based on real experiences Doyle-Murray had as a kid, both with his family and while caddying at Indian Hill Country Club in suburban Chicago. Just like Danny wanting to win a caddy tournament scholarship, Doyle-Murray’s brother Ed competed in a similar contest. Danny also works at a lumberyard, because Doyle-Murray’s father was an executive at the J.J. Barney Lumber Company. The scenes of Danny Noonan in a cramped house full of siblings is pulled directly from Doyle-Murray’s childhood as one of nine kids. And the best: the “Baby Ruth in the pool” bit was a prank the Murray boys pulled in real life.
5. He was in the first and third Vacation movies.
Doyle-Murray appeared in the two best movies in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, but in completely different characters. In Vacation, he portrays the clerk at the Kamp Komfort the Griswalds stop into for the night. And in Christmas Vacation, Doyle-Murray plays Clark Griswald’s jerk boss who cancels holiday bonuses and subsequently gets himself kidnapped by Clark’s well-meaning Cousin Eddie.
6. He’s been on SNL a lot.
Doyle-Murray has a long history with Saturday Night Live. He wrote for the sketch comedy series from 1978 to 1982, and was a writer-performer in the 1981-82 season. But before he was on Saturday Night Live he wrote for…Saturday Night Live. You see, in 1975, the show now known as Saturday Night Live was titled NBC’s Saturday Night because there was already a show on ABC called Saturday Night Live. It was a variety show hosted by Howard Cosell. Bill Murray was a cast member and appeared in sketches that Brian Doyle-Murray wrote.
7. John Belushi saved his life.
When Belushi unexpectedly died in 1982, it was Brian Doyle-Murray who memorialized him on Saturday Night Live, where Belushi had been past of the cast in the ’70s. In the segment, Doyle-Murray said that Belushi had always been a friend, and had even put him up when he moved to New York to make a go of his career. He then recalls a time when the two of them were running down a street in the middle of a snowstorm. Doyle-Murray had his head down and heard Belushi shout, “look out!” Belushi pushed him out of the way…and was hit by a giant truck. Belushi seemingly suffered no injuries in the accident, and X-rays at a hospital confirmed it. Doyle-Murray credits Belushi with saving his life.
8. He’s a hall-of-famer.
In 2015, Doyle-Murray was inducted into the Caddie Hall of Fame. Actually the organization in Lake Forest, Illinois, inducted all six Murray boys, as they’d all caddied at Indian Hill. But Doyle-Murray especially deserves recognition. After all, he co-wrote Caddyshack.