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Life imitates art when Bill Murray dines in Boston

A Back Bay restaurant had a special table ready for the ‘Life Aquatic’ actor

Bill Murray and Michael Serpa in front of "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou" painting at Select Oyster Bar in Boston Nov. 3.Photo courtesy of Michael Serpa/Instagram

Bill Murray was treated to a table fit for Steve Zissou while dining in Boston last week.

Murray and a few friends enjoyed lunch at Select Oyster Bar in Back Bay Friday, and found themselves seated under a painting of the actor’s eccentric character from the 2004 film “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou.” According to chef and owner Michael Serpa, Murray chose the table on his own and didn’t realize the artwork at first.

“He picked that front table but didn’t notice the art and didn’t see the connection right away,” Serpa told the Globe by phone on Tuesday.

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Serpa revealed that Select Oyster Bar server Bryant Shung alerted Murray to the artwork, which excited the actor.

“A little bit into the meal he goes, ‘Just so you know, there’s a caricature of you right on this wall,’” Serpa said. “[Murray] was like, ‘Oh my God,’ and then he was into it.”

The “Life Aquatic” print has been a staple of the restaurant since it first opened in 2015, according to Serpa, and was created by artist Ale Giorgini.

The painting of Murray is one of several art pieces related to the film that are featured at the Back Bay eatery, which has prints of the movie’s ship and various sea creatures hanging in its bathrooms. Paintings of musician and “Life Aquatic” actor Seu Jorge and French diving pioneer Jacques Cousteau, whom the film parodies, also adorn the restaurant.

Serpa told the Globe that Murray got a kick out of seeing the artwork, taking photos, and sharing them with friends.

“Dude’s a legend,” said Serpa. “Everybody knows Bill Murray. It was cool to have him there.”

While the actor may not be a Red Sox fan, he’s been spotted dining around New England and the Bay State on several occasions in recent years. In 2022, Murray shared a meal with Wynonna Judd at a Newport restaurant and, later that summer, surprised diners at Turk’s Seafood Market & Sushi in Mattapoisett.

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Correction: An earlier version of the story misspelled “The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou” film title in the photo caption.


Matt Juul can be reached at matthew.juul@globe.com.