Harold Ramis, 1944-2014

by Dave Schuler on February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis the actor, writer, and director who wrote some of the funniest comedies of the last thirty years including Animal House, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This has died:

Harold Ramis was one of Hollywood’s most successful comedy filmmakers when he moved his family from Los Angeles back to the Chicago area in 1996. His career was still thriving, with “Groundhog Day” acquiring almost instant classic status upon its 1993 release and 1984′s “Ghostbusters” ranking among the highest-grossing comedies of all time, but the writer-director wanted to return to the city where he’d launched his career as a Second City performer.

“There’s a pride in what I do that other people share because I’m local, which in L.A. is meaningless; no one’s local,” Ramis said upon the launch of the first movie he directed after his move, the 1999 mobster-in-therapy comedy “Analyze This,” another hit. “It’s a good thing. I feel like I represent the city in a certain way.”

Ramis, a longtime North Shore resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69.

His pictures had some of the glorious silliness and anarchy of the Marx Brothers, clearly an influence on his work.

Today the world is less funny than it used to be.

{ 4 comments… read them below or add one }

PD Shaw February 24, 2014 at 2:30 pm

He wrote four of the American Film Institute’s 100 Funniest Movies: Ghostbusters (1984) at #28, Groundhog Day (1993) at #34, Animal House (1978) at #36 and Caddyshack (1980) at #71.

jan February 24, 2014 at 3:56 pm

…loved Ghostbusters. As for Groundhog Day, it has become part of the American vernacular in describing deja vu or repeating events.

Andy February 24, 2014 at 6:28 pm

While on station in the Persian Gulf in the mid-1990′s, operations in support of Southern Watch became so routine we called it “Groundhog Station” after the movie. As the intel guy, I’d splice bits of the movie into my intel briefs.

I was, and am, a big fan of his films.

steve February 25, 2014 at 12:15 am

He was also a decent actor. His small piece in As Good As It Gets was very well done.

Steve

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