You have to hand it to Bill Murray, he sure has a great sense of humor. He has starred in many great comedies, from Ghostbusters to Kingpin, but perhaps his greatest performance was off-screen during the making of one of his greatest hits, Groundhog Day. What made this off screen performance so great? Bill Murray hired a deaf assistant.
Bill Murray hiring a deaf assistant doesn’t seem too harmful or funny at first, but you haven’t heard all of it yet. The problem with his hiring decision was that no one else on set knew sign language, not even him. It made communication between his assistant and the rest of the crew impossible. Let’s look at what happened to set the trigger for Bill Murray to hire an assistant that was as deaf as a door knob.
When Groundhog Day was being filmed, Murray was in the process of his first divorce. It wasn’t exactly the happiest time in his life, and he was quite a bit crankier than he usually was, which is understandable. Because of his personal problems at the time, he had a few resentments towards the production, and communication between him, the director, Harold Ramis, and the studio was nigh on impossible. Calls would go unanswered and un-returned. That’s when someone suggested he hire a personal assistant to make things easier.
So Bill Murray did hire a personal assistant, a profoundly deaf one that could only communicate in American sign language. No one else in the studio could communicate with the assistant, and Murray said that he would learn sign language. In short, he hired the assistant for no other purpose but to piss people off. Bravo Mr Murray.
But it didn’t last. Within a couple of weeks Murray realized that it was so inconvenient that he ditched the plan altogether.