R.I.P. Harold Ramis

By Drax Largo on February 24th, 2014

Although we only cover action/sci-fi/horror genre movies on this site, there is one bit of very, very sad news in the industry today worth noting: esteemed writer/director/actor Harold Ramis has died. He was 69.

Several sources are citing Ramis’ untimely demise to complications related to auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis which he’d battled for four years.

Dan Aykroyd, a frequent collaborator and dear friend of Ramis said he was,“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking.”

Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman mourned Ramis in a statement: “The world has lost a wonderful, truly original, comedy voice with the passing of Harold Ramis. He possessed the most agile mind I’ve ever witnessed. He always had the clearest sense of what was funny and how to create something in a new clever way. He was very generous about making everyone around him look better and smarter. Harold had an extraordinary impact on my career and I loved him like a brother. My heart goes out to his children, and his lovely wife, Erica. He will be profoundly missed.”

“Harold was a gentle funny man. He found the perfect tone for Robert De Niro and I in Analyze This. He was a good man and I am shocked and saddened at his passing,” said Billy Crystal. The actor also Tweeted: “Sad to hear my friend Harold Ramis passed away. A brilliant, funny, actor and director. A wonderful husband and dad. Big loss to us all.”

A Chicago native, Ramis graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, MO and worked as a joke editor for Playboy Magazine before launching his career as a writer for The National Lampoon Radio Hour, the radio show that was a launching pad for a who’s who of future comedy stars and collaborators including Chevy Chase, John Belushi, Richard Belzer, Bill Murray, and Gilda Radner. Rising alongside his peers in the late-’70s comedy scene, Ramis came up through Chicago’s Second City improv troupe and was head writer on sketch comedy show SCTV before breaking into Hollywood as the co-writer of 1978′s National Lampoon’s Animal House.

Ramis went on to co-write such classics as Ghostbusters & Ghostbusters II (certainly in our wheelhouse), Meatballs, Back to School and Stripes (another one definitely under our wheelhouse). Directorial and co-writing works include National Lampoon’s Vacation, Analyze This, Bedazzled (2001), Multiplicity, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack.

Rest well, Mr. Ramis, your talent and wit will be sorely missed. You’ve left us an incredible legacy that we’ll enjoy for decades to come.