Comedy writer, actor and director Harold Ramis has died at the age of 69, reports the Chicago Tribune. The filmmaker’s work is some of the most iconic and beloved of the past 35 years.
Ramis leaves behind a formidable body of work, with writing credits on such enduring comedies as “National Lampoon’s Animal House” (which upon its 1978 release catapulted the film career of John Belushi, with whom Ramis acted at Second City), “Stripes” (1981) and “Ghostbusters” (in which Ramis also co-starred) plus such directing efforts as “Caddyshack” (1980), “National Lampoon’s Vacation” (1983), “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This.”
Previously he was the first head writer (and a performer) on Second City’s groundbreaking television series “Second City Television (SCTV)” (1976-79). More recently he directed episodes of NBC’s “The Office.”
Ramis died from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a “rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels” his wife Erica Mann Ramis told the Tribune.
Ramis’ serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vaculitis in late 2011, said Laurel Ward, vice president of development at Ramis’ Ocean Pictures production company.
Ramis also recently had starring roles in “Knocked Up” with Seth Rogan, directed by Judd Aptow. “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,” said Apatow. “His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy. We grew up on ‘Second City TV’ and ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Vacation,’ ‘Animal House,’ ‘Stripes,’ ‘Meatballs’ (which Ramis co-wrote); he literally made every single one of our favorite movies.”
Via Chicago Tribune
Harold Ramis on SCTV in 1977 – “So Your Dead. Now What”
Harold Ramis as Whitey – SCTV Leave it to Beaver Parody
Ramis utters one of my favorite SCTV lines of all time. When John Candy as the Beaver complains about Eddie Haskell, Ramis, as Beaver’s pal, Whitey suggests, “Why don’t you kill him?”
Harold Ramis – Clip from “Knocked Up”