Sigourney Would Have Jumped In

The overwhelming aroma of fusty, unwashed flesh enveloped me.

I was a young, hungry, and desperate actress, and my legs were aching from another day of fruitless rounds. As I approached the final building, an officious doorman stopped me. I explained that I was simply headed in to drop off my headshots at various agents.

"Well, just between you and me," he confided, eyeballing me up and down, "Bill Murray is in this building, and he's looking for a personal assistant." He gave me a cocky wink. My brain buzzed. In truth, I was a secretary for a credit reporting firm. I wanted to be an actress. Could I? Should I?

Images of Bill Murray and me starring in his next madcap comedy swirled through my head. I could!

On the seventh floor, I swallowed and announced: "The agency sent me to see Mr. Murray." My heart was lodged firmly in my throat; I didn't even have a business résumé with me! I wished I'd worn a different outfit!

After an inordinately long wait, I was shown into a dim room, where I observed a form stirring atop a pile of blankets on the floor. A tall man rose and approached me. "Hey, how ya doin'?" he asked sleepily, extending a hand. The overwhelming aroma of fusty, unwashed flesh enveloped me.

I don't remember much of what was said, except that he was indeed in need of a personal assistant to travel with him. He suddenly headed out, and I ran after him. We chatted in the elevator, me gazing into his bloodshot eyes. On the sidewalk, he said, "So, wanna share a cab downtown?"

Penniless, I considered my the possibilities: a) he would pay and drop me off at my destination after I'd convinced him, en route, of my huge talent and ability to be both is personal assistant and co-star; b) he expected me to split the fare (I had a single subway token in my purse) and would become enraged when I revealed my subterfuge, kicking me out the door of the cab to the curb, where I'd lie weeping in filth; c) we'd hit it off and he would instantly hire me—whereupon, next stop: L.A.!

To this day, I curse my wretched proper upbringing. I did not have the chutzpah to step into a cab with Bill Murray and risk assuming he would foot the bill, so I politely shook his hand and said goodnight.

Months later, I landed extra work on _Ghostbusters._ All night long, I ran around Columbus Circle in high heels, screaming in fright at a gigantic marshmallow monster that wasn't there. On the set one day, I finally saw Murray and waved to him, calling, "Bill! Oh, hi, Bill!" My face burned as he looked right through me.

There but for cab fare....

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