Harold Ramis dies: 'Ghostbusters' actor, comedy screenwriter was 69
Harold Ramis, an actor and screenwriter who worked on the "Ghostbusters" movies and a slew of comedy films such as "Caddyshack" and "Groundhog Day," has died at age 69.
The actor passed away on Monday, Feb. 24, "from complications related to auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition Ramis battled for the past four years," his agent said in a statement obtained by OTRC.com. The disease causes a person's blood vessels to become inflamed because their immune system mistakenly attacks them.
"Ramis passed away peacefully this morning surrounded by family and friends in his Chicago area home, where he and wife, Erica Mann Ramis, have lived since 1996," the rep said. "In addition to his wife Erica, Ramis is survived by sons Julian and Daniel, daughter Violet and two grandchildren. His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him."
Ramis was born in Chicago on Nov. 21, 1944 and was a member of the city's Second City Improvisational Theatre Troupe in the late 1960s and early 1970s before he moved to Los Angeles, where he lived for 20 years. He co-wrote the cult 1978 college comedy film "Animal House" and was also a writer of the sketch comedy series "SCTV" ("Second City TV).
He co-wrote the scripts of the 1980s movies "Ghostbusters" and "Ghostbusters II," in which he played Dr. Egon Spengler, and "Caddyshack," which also marked his directorial debut. Fellow Second City alum Bill Murray appeared in these films as well as in the 1993 dramedy "Groundhog Day," which Ramis also directed, starred in and co-wrote.
In the 1990s, Ramis appeared in the hair metal comedy film "Airheads" with Brendan Fraser, Adam Sandler and Steve Buscemi and in "As Good as It Gets" with Jack Nicholson. In the 2007 hit Judd Apatow comedy movie "Knocked Up," Ramis played the father of Seth Rogen's character. Ramis' most recent on-screen role was in the 2009 film "Year One," which he also directed and which starred Jack Black, Michael Cera and Olivia Wilde.
Ramis also directed and helped pen the screenplays of the movies "Vacation," which starred "Caddyshack" actor Chevy Chase, and "Analyze This" and "Analyze That" with Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal.
Over the years, Ramis received the American Comedy Award, the British Comedy Award, and the BAFTA (British Academy) award for screenwriting.
Former co-stars, other celebrities react to Harold Ramis' death