Groundhog Day

Because we're huge fans of the real Groundhog Day and Punxsutawney Phil (especially since that furry rodent has predicted an early spring, despite blizzards galore), today feels like the right time to get super-obsessed with a certain Bill Murray comedy.

That movie, of course, is 1993's 'Groundhog Day,' in which Murray plays a TV weatherman named Phil Connors, a curmudgeon forced to relive the same 24-hour period over and over. It's one of our all-time favorites -- and we're not just saying that because cast member Stephen Tobolowsky, aka Ned Ryerson, is a Moviefone columnist.

Tobolowsky writes today about the lasting effects of his memorable, scene-stealing role. But here, we take a fond look back at where Murray, Tobolowsky and the rest of the cast were in 1993, and catch you up with what they're doing now.

Bill Murray Groundhog DayBill Murray (Phil Connors)
Then: Murray had been riding high on the Hollywood A-list for well over a decade, starting soon after he gained national exposure as a Not Ready for Primetime Player on the second season of 'Saturday Night Live.' Before starring in 'Groundhog Day,' Murray already had such monumental credits to his name as 'Caddyshack,' 'Stripes' and 'Tootsie,' as well as a little something called 'Ghostbusters.'

Now: In retrospect, 'Groundhog Day' could be considered the turning point in Murray's career -- the point at which he began leaving behind his image as a goofball actor and started being cast in more thespian-y roles. Following 'Groundhog,' he played a villain opposite Robert De Niro and Uma Thurman in 'Mad Dog and Glory,' and took smart, small parts in 'Ed Wood' and 'Cradle Will Rock.' That trend would pinnacle with Murray's Oscar-nominated turn in 'Lost in Translation,' playing a lonely, out-of-fashion actor. In recent years, the pace of Murray's output has slowed somewhat -- but he could return with a vengeance if 'Ghostbusters III' gets made.

Andie MacDowell Groundhog DayAndie MacDowell (Rita)
Then: The transition from model to actress wasn't easy for MacDowell. After appearing in the pages of Vogue and in TV ads for Calvin Klein, MacDowell's first film performance, in 'Greystoke: The Legend of Tarzan, Lord of the Apes,' was dubbed over by Glenn Close to eradicate her too-Southern accent. Her big break came five years later, in Steven Soderbergh's Cannes Film Festival darling, 'Sex, Lies and Videotape.' Between that film and 'Groundhog Day,' MacDowell starred in one hit ('Green Card') and one mega-flop ('Hudson Hawk').

Now: 'Groundhog Day' kicked MacDowell's career into high gear artistically and commercially, as she appeared in an array of well-received and/or high-grossing movies: 'Short Cuts,' 'Four Weddings and a Funeral,' 'Michael,' 'The End of Violence,' and 'Unstrung Heroes,' to name just a few. Look for her soon in the much-anticipated remake of 'Footloose.'

Chris Elliott (Larry)
Then: Elliott was best known for his various sketch characters (like The Guy Under the Seats and The Conspiracy Guy) on 'Late Night with David Letterman,' as well as for his short-lived, cultishly adored Fox sitcom 'Get A Life,' in which he played a 30-year-old paperboy who lives above his parents' garage. (Fun fact: 'Adaptation' scribe Charlie Kaufman was a writer on the show!)

Now: Unlike his 'Groundhog' co-star Murray, Elliott's SNL stint would come following the film's release; he only stayed on for one season. A Hollywood journeyman, Elliott's career has veered from kids' television (Nickelodeon's 'The Adventures of Pete and Pete') to Farrelly Brothers' comedies ('Kingpin,' 'There's Something About Mary') and from animated voice work ('King of the Hill,' 'Futurama') to plenty of guest-starring roles ('How I Met Your Mother,' 'Third Watch,' 'Everybody Loves Raymond.') The 50-year-old is also a three time author, and will star in the wacky 'Walker, Texas Ranger' parody 'Eagleheart,' debuting Feb. 3 on Cartoon Network's Adult Swim programming block. He's also the father of current SNL cast member Abby Elliott.

Stephen Tobolowsky (Ned Ryerson)
Then: Then, now, forever and ever, until eternity, Stephen Tobolowsky epitomizes the "that guy" character actor. Since his first notable role in 1984's 'Swing Shift,' he's probably appeared in more movies that the entire cast of 'Groundhog Day' combined, and was a guest-starring maniac on such TV hits as 'Knots Landing,' 'Falcon Crest,' 'Cagney and Lacey,' '227,' 'Designing Women,' 'L.A. Law,' and 'The Days and Nights of Molly Dodd.'

Now: Having nailed the part of Ned Ryerson, perhaps the world's most annoying insurance salesman (and that's saying something), Tobolowsky began to vary up his career post-'Groundhog.' In 2002, he received a Tony nomination for his performance in the Broadway play 'Morning's at Seven.' In 2005, he starred in a mockumentary entitled 'Stephen Tobolowsky's Birthday Party,' in which the eponymous actor fetes himself while entertaining such guests as Mena Suvari and Amy Adams with his well-spun yarns. Since 2009, he's entertained in a similar storytelling fashion via his podcasts, 'The Tobolowsky Files.' His ever-expanding list of credits includes 'Deadwood,' 'Californication,' 'Heroes,' and most recently, ex-glee club director turned local drug dealer Sandy Ryerson on 'Glee' -- the character's surname likely being an homage to the part he played in 'Groundhog.'

Brian Doyle-Murray (Buster Green)
Then: Doyle-Murray's career trajectory mirrored that of his younger, more famous brother, Bill. Both had performed with the improv troupe Second City in Chicago in the 1970s, and Doyle-Murray had been a featured player and writer on SNL in the late '70s and early '80s. While he'd gained a reputation for taking bit parts in his brother's movies --'Caddyshack,' 'Scrooged,' 'Ghostbusters II' -- he also appeared without him in such memorable films as 'JFK,' 'Razor's Edge' and 'Sixteen Candles.' Doyle-Murray co-wrote 'Caddyshack' with its director, Harold Ramis, who would later go on to direct 'Groundhog Day.' Doyle-Murray also appeared on Chris Elliott's sitcom 'Get A Life.'

Now: Doyle-Murray went on to appear with Elliott once more, in 'Cabin Boy,' but curiously, has not been seen onscreen with his brother since. His film credits have included 'Waiting for Guffman' and 'As Good As It Gets.' Since 2009, Doyle-Murray's had a recurring role on the sitcom 'The Middle' as a car-dealership owner and the boss of dad Mike Heck (Neil Flynn).

Rick Overton (Ralph)
Then: Starting off as a comedian and improv artist in New York City, Overton went on to play character roles in a successful string of pre-'Groundhog' credits, including 'Beverly Hills Cop,' 'Gung Ho,' 'Willow,' 'Earth Girls Are Easy' and 'The Rocketeer.' He also had a couple of writing gigs under his belt, including an episode of 'The New Adventures of Beans Baxter,' a short-lived Fox show about a teenage spy.

Now: He's won an Emmy for his writing work on 'Dennis Miller Live,' guest-starred on 'Lost,' 'Alias' and 'Joan of Arcadia' (in which he played God himself) and memorably portrayed the Drake (as in, "I love the Drake!") on an episode of 'Seinfeld.' One of his most recent credits: an appearance on Doyle-Murray's show, 'The Middle.'

Robin Duke (Doris the waitress)
Then: Performing improv with Second City led to a spot on the SNL cast roster. Starting to sound familiar? Before acting and writing for SNL from 1981 to 1984 (where her most renowned role was undoubtedly Wendy Whiner: "But we have a reservaaaaation!"), Duke appeared on SNL's Canadian doppelganger 'SCTV' -- one of only three comedians (Martin Short was another) who appeared as regulars on both TV sketch shows.

Now: Duke followed up 'Groundhog' with a handful of comedies, including 'I Love Trouble,' 'Multiplicity' (reuniting her with MacDowell and director Ramis) and 'Stuart Saves His Family,' after which her Hollywood resume has subsisted mostly on TV guest spots. But back in her native Canada, her comedy roots still run deep: She and some fellow female Canuck comics formed a sketch troupe, Women Fully Clothed, which has toured Canada extensively, and she teaches in the School of Creative and Performing Arts at Humber College in Toronto.

Willie Garson (Kenny)
Then: A graduate of the Yale School of Drama, Garson had enjoyed a career that was heavy on the TV guest-star spots before 'Groundhog' came around. You might have caught him on 'Family Ties,' 'Cheers,' 'My Two Dads,' 'Newhart,' 'Coach' -- or, in his most recurring appearance, as oldest son Kevin's best friend on 'Mr. Belvedere.' His few film credits were mostly known as duds, especially 'Troop Beverly Hills' and 'The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.'

Now: Garson's role on 'Sex and the City' as Carrie's best gay friend, Stanford, made him a household name. He now co-stars on the USA Network's show 'White Collar.' In 2009, Garson adopted a son, Nathan.

Angela Paton (Mrs. Lancaster)
Then: An uncredited, blink-and-you'll-miss-it part in 'Dirty Harry' led to only a few more movies ('Welcome Home, Roxy Carmichael,' 'Flatliners') but loads of TV guest spots on 'thirtysomething,' 'Falcon Crest,' 'The Wonder Years,' 'Father Dowling Mysteries, Quantum Leap,' 'Wings,' 'Murphy Brown,' 'Doogie Howser, M.D.' and more.

Now: And the beat goes on for the woman who plays the owner of the B&B that Phil Connors stays at in Punxsutawney. Paton's resume has continued to steer towards TV work ('Dave's World,' 'NYPD Blue,' 'Chicago Hope,' 'Dharma & Greg,' 'Becker,' 'Curb Your Enthusiasm') with occasional bit parts in films like 'Clean Slate,' 'Trapped in Paradise,' 'The Wedding Singer' and 'American Wedding.' Her most recent appearances have been on 'Sons of Tucson,' 'My Name is Earl' and 'Grey's Anatomy.'

Harold Ramis (co-writer, director)
Then: Ramis and Murray had been thick as thieves for years before the former directed the latter in 'Groundhog Day.' Both had grown up in Chicago and studied with Second City before breaking into movies, and Murray had previously appeared in movies written and/or directed by Ramis, including 'Meatballs,' 'Caddyshack,' 'Stripes' and 'Ghostbusters' -- in which he also portrayed geeky scientist Dr. Egor Spengler. Ramis also directed the 1981 classic 'National Lampoon's Vacation.'

Now: Ramis helmed three more films in the 1990s: the bombs 'Stuart Saves His Family' and 'Multiplicity' and the hit 'Analyze This.' Ramis' most recent offering, which he directed, co-wrote and took a role in, was 2009's 'Year One.' He also makes the occasional acting-only cameo (as in 'Knocked Up,' as Seth Rogen's dad) and has directed a handful of episodes of 'The Office.' In 2004, Ramis received a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame (he'd gone to college at local Washington University, on which 'Animal House' was partly based).

Scooter (the groundhog)
Then: Scooter was the name of the rodent cast in the role of Punxsutawney Phil (although it has been reported that an entire family of groundhogs was raised and kept for the sake of the production). A Hollywood virgin at the time, Scooter had no other film credits to his name prior to portraying the folksy Phil, aka "Seer of Seers, Sage of Sages, Prognosticator of Prognosticators and Weather Prophet Extraordinary."

Now: Considering that the average lifespan of a groundhog kept in captivity tops out somewhere around 10 years, chances are Scooter (who never did another movie) is no longer with us. But according to folklore, the one and only, real-life Punxsutawney Phil is somewhere around 120 years old and still alive and kicking in Pennsylvania. And Scooter lives on, with this goony flash animation game on the Sony website.


Read Stephen Tobolowsky's column about 'Groundhog Day.'


Rent 'Groundhog Day' at Netflix
Buy 'Groundhog Day' on Blu-ray/DVD