Harold Ramis, 69

Animal House. SCTV. Meatballs. Caddyshack. Stripes. National Lampoon’s Vacation. Ghostbusters. Groundhog Day. As Good As It Gets. Analyze This. Knocked Up.

Odds are one of those movies (or TV show) is on you list of favorites. If you’re like me, you have more than one listed on your top ten list of all-time favorites. They share one particular person in common. That person is Harold Ramis. Most he was involved as an writer, some as a director, a small percentage as an actor, but a large percentage as a combination of two or more roles. So, it’s not hyperbole to apply the title “legend” to Harold Ramis.

Harold Ramis died at 12:53 this morning at his Chicago area home. He succumbed to complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, a disease Ramis has been fighting for almost four years.

Ramis got his start writing as an arts and entertainment writer for the Chicago Daily News during the day and becoming a cast member of the storied Second City improvisational group at night. The Daily News job earned him work as a joke editor at Playboy, and his Second City gig earned him a job accompanying his friend and Second City cohort John Belushi in New York  to work on The National Lampoon Radio Hour.

Ramis joined the television off-shoot of Second City, SCTV for the programs first three seasons. He left the show to move to Hollywood to try his hand at a film career. His first work there was writing the script for Animal House with Doug Kinney and Chris Miller. This began a unparalleled spate of his involvement with one classic comedy after another. His next script was for the Bill Murray vehicle, Meatballs (the first of six films the pair worked together on).  Then came Caddyshack (which he co-wrote with Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray). Then Stripes. Then a job directing National Lampoon’s Vacation. And then, the gigantic hit, Ghostbusters, a film in which he also starred as Dr. Egon Spengler.

He continued to work in films and television right up until the disease took hold of him in 2010. The most notable work of his later career is the brilliant Groundhog Day, which Ramis wrote and directed.

Via Chicago Tribune.

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About Bill Gatevackes 2030 Articles
William is cursed with the shared love of comic books and of films. Luckily, this is a great time for him to be alive. His writing has been featured on Broken Frontier.com, PopMatters.com and in Comics Foundry magazine.
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