CULTURE & ARTS

This Is The Painting That Saved Bill Murray's Life

Bill Murray attends the press conference for "St. Vincent" on day 4 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Trump I
Bill Murray attends the press conference for "St. Vincent" on day 4 of the Toronto International Film Festival at the Trump International Hotel on Sunday, Sept. 7, 2014, in Toronto. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Whether he's crashing bachelor parties, nailing surprise karaoke performances or golfing in Internet-breaking PBR pants, Bill Murray never ceases to surprise us. And that's exactly what he's done with a touching story from the early days of his career.

This week, the Chicago Sun-Times' Cindy Pearlman notes the Illinois-born actor, who's in Toronto promoting his latest film, "St. Vincent," credits a painting at the Art Institute of Chicago with saving his life.

After his first experience on a stage did not go well, Murray has said, he headed toward Lake Michigan thinking, "If I’m going to die, I might as well go over toward the lake and float a bit." Before he reached the water, however, he arrived at the Art Institute and saw the "The Song of the Lark," a painting that truly moved him.

The painting, by 19th-century French realist painter Jules Breton, depicts a young peasant woman working in a field at sunrise.

breton
Jules Adolphe Breton. The Song of the Lark, 1884. The Art Institute of Chicago. Henry Field Memorial Collection.

During a February press conference in London, where Murray was promoting "The Monuments Men," he said: "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 Breton painting isn't the only item in the museum that has been tied to the former "Saturday Night Live" star. A 17th-century Dutch chiaroscuro woodcut that's part of the museum's collection bears an eerily striking resemblance to the actor.

testPromoTitleReplace testPromoDekReplace Join HuffPost Today! No thanks.
HuffPost

BEFORE YOU GO

PHOTO GALLERY
Bill Murray On 'SNL'