Harold Ramis, Actor and Director, Dead at 69

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Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters.
Harold Ramis as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters.

From the Chicago Tribune: “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.”

I am a child of the eighties, so for me Ghostbusters has always been a fact of the universe. The movie explodes with hilarious and inspired performances by Bill Murray as the egotistical, ethically challenged Peter Venkman. But when you get over your Venkman phase, you realize that Ramis accomplishes what is arguably the more impressive feat: being funny or interesting at all in a movie that stars Bill Murray. Of course, it was something he had done equally well three years earlier in Stripes (which, like Ghostbusters he paritally wrote), but when you’re born in 1983, you watch those films in reverse-chronological order.

And then of course, there’s his filmography as director. Though not often lauded as an auteur, Ramis leaves behind an impressive string of hit comedies including Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This.

This is seriously depressing. I’m going to go watch Groundhog Day with the director’s commentary on and cry.

 



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