Bill Murray Looks Back on Starring in ‘Tootsie’ With Dustin Hoffman

by Megan Molseed

For the first time since the daytime talk show premiered in 1997, Bill Murray sat with the panel on The View. During the appearance, Murray discusses a wide variety of topics, including some of the longtime actor’s most iconic film roles. And, among these roles is one that is arguably one of the actor’s most popular roles; despite it being entirely uncredited.

In 1982, Dustin Hoffman donned some sensible high-heeled shoes, along with some fabulous gowns; a few pairs of pantyhose; some perfectly 80s power suits, and a wig that quickly became one of the most famous in movie history when he took on the role of Michael Dorsey/Dorthy Michaels in the hit film, Tootsie. And, playing alongside Hoffman in this ground-breaking comedy role was Saturday Night Live comedian, Bill Murray as Jeff Slater, Michael Dorsey’s playwright roommate.

“Well, that’s a very good movie to talk about, Tootsie,” Bill Murray says during his conversation with the hosts on The View. According to Murray, while he was impressed by the unique script, it was the names connected to the popular flick, such as Tootsie director Sydney Pollock, and, of course, Dustin Hoffman that drew him to the project.

“Dustin Hoffman was really, really generous as an actor, to me,” Bill Murray says of his Tootsie costar. “We had a wonderful relationship.”

Bill Murray Goes Full Improv With Dustin Hoffman

According to the Ghostbusters star, many of his scenes with Dustin Hoffman in the popular 1982 film were largely improvised. Much of the material was “made up right then and there.”

Murray notes that the reason for all of this improvisation is because his Jeff the playwright character wasn’t part of the original plan.

“My character didn’t really exist in the screenplay,” Bill Murray explains.

“It was just a character that was suggested by Elaine May,” the star adds. “As somebody who would help the audience point of view.”

This, Murray said, gave the two actors complete freedom when shooting their scenes together.

“Every time we got to work, we just got to do whatever we thought was funny,” Murray remembers. “Because Dustin and Sydney had this crazy relationship where Dustin would be very, very demanding.”

When Tootsie was first released, Bill Murray received zero credit shout-outs in any of the advertisements. A surprising fact, since Murray’s star was fast rising at the time. So, why did Murray remain uncredited in his role as Dustin Hoffman’s roommate, Jeff Slater? For the sake of laughs, the actor has said. that it would be a “fun practical joke.”

It was stipulated within Bill Murray’s contract that he would not receive any billing for his role as Jeff Slater in Tootsie. And, Columbia, the studio behind the film, agreed with this stipulation. Not releasing any of the information before the film’s release.