The Man of the Year Award is given annually to performers who have made "a lasting and impressive contribution to the world of entertainment." Pudding spokesman Michael K. Allio '86 said when Murray was announced as this year's recipient.
Past winners have included Paul Newman, Robert Redford, and Sean Connery in 1984. The award was first presented in 1955, to Bob Hope, 11 years after the installation of the Woman of the Year honor.
Murray said he was unexpectedly impressed with Harvard, where he spent the day touring the College, the Square, and such dubious tourist attractions as the Lampoon's Castle at 44 Bow St. "I was shocked," Murray said of Harvard people. "If someone said something funny, people would actually laugh."
Murray said he was also surprised to find that the Hasty Pudding's show was hilariously funny instead of-as he expected-awful. "I was living in fear of this night," he said.
But Murray added that he fit right in with the boisterous opening-night crowd, although he couldn't understand why he himself was being so restrained "I don't know why I'm not throwing water balloons at the audience," he wondered aloud.
As national and local entertainment reporters grilled him about his screen career, Murray seemed satisfied with his most recent film releases.
"Ghostbusters," last summer's blockbuster which is the all-time top-grossing comedy, "was a riot and I knew it," Murray said. "It was just like saving Ethiopia."
Although his most recent and more somber release. "The Razor's Edge," was less popular at the box office than his comedy films, Murray said he was happy with his first attempt at a serious role. Moreover, Murray said, the World War I drama "was a big success at Turkish Army bases."
Murray began his career with the Second City comedy troupe before moving on to NBC-IV's "Saturday Night Live" in 1975. His first movie, "Meatballs," was followed up with a succession of comedy hits including "Stripes," "Caddyshack" and "Ghostbusters."
Murray's most important "job", is comedy he said, although it still remains something of a mystery people laugh is something I simply don't understand," he said.
But the slimebasting funnyman did seem to understand the magnitude of last night's award. "This is about as nice a thing that can happen to you without scarring you for life. [But] I don't think I'll commit suicide or get drunk after this."