“It was a huge altercation,” recalls Animal House director John Landis, who witnessed the fight. “They were big guys and really going at it.”
The punch-up was triggered by the SNL cast’s anger at Chevy for quitting the show in just its second season in 1976, writes Nick de Semlyen in his new book, Wild and Crazy Guys: How the Comedy Mavericks of the ’80s Changed Hollywood Forever. Snobby Chase was about to become a movie star with his hit 1978 rom-com Foul Play, co-starring Goldie Hawn.
He returned to SNL as a guest host. Chase claims John Belushi’s brother, Jim, stirred up the cast against him, according to the book. After the live show, Bill told Chase the SNL cast hated his guts, the author says.
In the book, Murray recalls: “We all felt mad he had left us, and somehow I was the anointed avenging angel, who had to speak for everyone.” Suddenly, six-foot-four Chase and six-foot-two Murray squared off — at first slinging insults.
Says Landis, “They were slapping at each other, screaming at each other, calling each other terrible names.”But eventually the stars made up and did 1980’s Caddyshack — but Chevy never messed with Bill again, the author dishes.
Notes comic Dave Thomas: “Murray is fearless and physically strong. He’s not shy about throwing his fists around.”