Bill Murray's Film Farewell to Belushi
updated 11/05/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST
•originally published 11/05/1984 AT 01:00 AM EST
The Razor's Edge is Bill Murray's pet project. He starred in the smash comedy Ghostbusters so that Columbia Pictures would allow him to take his first serious role in the film version of W. Somerset Maugham's 1944 novel about a disillusioned World War I vet, Larry Darrell, who travels the globe to find the meaning of life. The critics were less than pleased with the $13 million result, but many were moved by a scene that Murray, as co-screenwriter, wove into the story as a way of saying goodbye to his friend and Saturday Night Live colleague John Belushi, who died of a drug overdose a year before the movie was made. In the film Darrell cradles the dead body of his gruff but beloved ambulance corps chief, played by the star's brother Brian Doyle-Murray, and curses him for dying. "That scene is all about John," says Murray. "It comes from this old Persian thing where if somebody dies you tell horrible stories about him. That's what I did when John died." And that is what Darrell does as he berates the dead man. "What it does is remind you not to get sentimental. You say, 'That guy was a rat,' and I'm a rat too, and I'd better do something about it rather than weep my life away."