Harold Ramis dies: Ghostbusters star and Groundhog Day director was 69

 

The actor, writer and director Harold Ramis, best known as bespectacled science nerd Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, died on Monday in Chicago. He was 69. Ramis, who also wrote and directed the comedy classics Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, had spent four years suffering from a rare auto-immune condition that causes swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Ramis told The Chicago Tribune.

Ramis, one of the most successful comedy filmmakers of his generation, had returned with his family from Hollywood to his hometown, Chicago, almost 20 years ago. He was born in the city in 1944, and began his career by writing arts stories for a local newspaper and editing the “party jokes” section of Playboy magazine. As a young performer, he joined Chicago’s celebrated improvisational comedy troupe, Second City, and in the late 1970s rose to become the head writer on the group’s television series, Second City Television.

It was at Second City that he first met fellow future comedy stars John Belushi and Bill Murray. Ramis and Murray would go on to make six films together, but Ramis made his name in Hollywood in 1978 as the co-writer of National Lampoon’s Animal House, which starred Belushi. Animal House was the first in a run of Ramis hits: he co-wrote and starred in Stripes (1981) and Ghostbusters (1984) with Murray, as well as the 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II.

Meanwhile, in 1980, he made his directorial debut with the cult classic Caddyshack. He went on to write and direct Groundhog Day in 1993, which remains one of the most successful comedies of all time, followed by the mobster comedy Analyze This in 1999, starring Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. Recently he directed several episodes of the US version of The Office. His final film was the 2009 prehistoric comedy Year One.

Ramis’s work proved to be inspirational for a younger generation of comedy filmmakers, including the writer-director Judd Apatow, who cast him as Seth Rogen’s father in his 2007 film Knocked Up. “When I was 15, I interviewed Harold for my high school radio station, and he was the person that I wanted to be when I was growing up,” Apatow told the Tribune. “His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy… He literally made every single one of our favourite movies.”

PROMOTED VIDEO
News
ebooksAn unforgettable anthology of contemporary reportage
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

COO / Chief Operating Officer

£80 - 100k + Bonus: Guru Careers: A COO / Chief Operating Officer is needed to...

HR Manager - Kent - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum: Ashdown Group: HR Manager / Training Manager (L&D /...

HR Manager - Edgware, London - £45,000

£40000 - £45000 per annum + Benefits: Ashdown Group: HR Manager - Edgware, Lon...

HR Manager - London - £40,000 + bonus

£32000 - £40000 per annum + bonus: Ashdown Group: HR Manager (Generalist) -Old...

Day In a Page

Secret politics of the weekly shop

The politics of the weekly shop

New app reveals political leanings of food companies
Beam me up, Scottie!

Beam me up, Scottie!

Celebrity Trekkies from Alex Salmond to Barack Obama
Beware Wet Paint: The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition

Beware Wet Paint

The ICA's latest ambitious exhibition
Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Pink Floyd have produced some of rock's greatest ever album covers

Can 'The Endless River' carry on the tradition?
Sanctuary for the suicidal

Sanctuary for the suicidal

One mother's story of how London charity Maytree helped her son with his depression
A roller-coaster tale from the 'voice of a generation'

Not That Kind of Girl:

A roller-coaster tale from 'voice of a generation' Lena Dunham
London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice. In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence

London is not bedlam or a cradle of vice

In fact it, as much as anywhere, deserves independence
Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with Malcolm McLaren

Vivienne Westwood 'didn’t want' relationship with McLaren

Designer 'felt pressured' into going out with Sex Pistols manager
Jourdan Dunn: Model mother

Model mother

Jordan Dunn became one of the best-paid models in the world
Apple still coolest brand – despite U2 PR disaster

Apple still the coolest brand

Despite PR disaster of free U2 album
Scottish referendum: The Yes vote was the love that dared speak its name, but it was not to be

Despite the result, this is the end of the status quo

Boyd Tonkin on the fall-out from the Scottish referendum
Manolo Blahnik: The high priest of heels talks flats, Englishness, and why he loves Mary Beard

Manolo Blahnik: Flats, Englishness, and Mary Beard

The shoe designer who has been dubbed 'the patron saint of the stiletto'
The Beatles biographer reveals exclusive original manuscripts of some of the best pop songs ever written

Scrambled eggs and LSD

Behind The Beatles' lyrics - thanks to Hunter Davis's original manuscript copies
'Normcore' fashion: Blending in is the new standing out in latest catwalk non-trend

'Normcore': Blending in is the new standing out

Just when fashion was in grave danger of running out of trends, it only went and invented the non-trend. Rebecca Gonsalves investigates
Dance’s new leading ladies fight back: How female vocalists are now writing their own hits

New leading ladies of dance fight back

How female vocalists are now writing their own hits