|Portrayed By:||Bill Murray|
Peter Venkman, Ph.D. is a fictional character from the Ghostbusters franchise. He appears in the films Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II and in the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters. In both live action films, he was portrayed by Bill Murray, and was voiced in the animated series first by Lorenzo Music and then by Dave Coulier. He is a parapsychologist and the leader of the Ghostbusters.
In 2008, Peter Venkman was selected by the magazine Empire as one of The 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time, described by Empire's Nick de Semlyen as "the ultimate New York hero: cynical, sarcastic, secretly sweet-natured", "a man possessed by manic spontaneity, with a wont to twirl in circles around a public concourse or declare undying love for a woman he's just met", and the "most popular" character played by Murray.
Born in Brooklyn, New York, Peter is one of three doctors of parapsychology on the Ghostbusters team. He holds PhDs in both parapsychology and psychology. Originally his professional interests were focused on paranormal phenomena like ESP; he appeared not to believe in ghosts until he actually saw one. In the movies, he is characterized by his flippant persona, his approach to his profession as a scientific charlatan, and his womanizing demeanor. Fred Pfeil sees in him a postmodern hero, whose level of "crass self-interest" safeguards him from being ensnared by a stereotypical role.
Despite Venkman's lackadaisical attitude, from time to time he has created inventions that help the Ghostbusters save the day, and he is shrewd and more street-smart than either Ray Stantz or Egon Spengler. Venkman serves as the front man for the group and possesses more social ability than the more academically inclined Ray and Egon. For instance, he is the one who is able to persuade the city mayor to release them after being arrested, return their equipment and otherwise support their attempt to stop Gozer.