Bill Murray sat down for an interview with The Guardian recently, where he merged his infamous sense of humor with a bout of seriousness, talking about everything from politics to his Catholic upbringing.
The actor–so widely admired and adored all over the world that Toronto holds Bill Murray Day once a year–also gave his views on someone he admires: Ralph Nader, who might just be the “greatest living American” for his contribution to automobile legislation 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 said.
As for the public blaming of Nader during the 2000 presidential election, Murray says the fault lies elsewhere.
“You know: that’s Al Gore’s fault! We didn’t all come here to make the world easier for Al Gore. He should have run a better campaign. He ran a lousy campaign. He was the vice-president during the greatest economic boom in the history of the country…political parties work to cripple their opponents. They spend all their time in office trying to paralyse the work of the others. They try to stifle. It’s cruel, cruel.”
As far as how he thinks things will change in the future, Murray says it won’t be easy. With the country in turmoil over Ferguson at the moment, his words ring particularly sound.
“Well, eventually something horrible will happen, something dynamic and powerful. It’s going to have to be cataclysmic for people to wake up and say: ‘OK, is anyone gonna do this?’ There’s going to have to be a shock of another kind.”