Harold Ramis, best known as an actor in “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes” and a writer/director for “Caddyshack” and “Groundhog Day” is dead at 69, according to reports just coming in. This comes just days after his agent had refuted an internet hoax, claiming that the star had died earlier in February.
The Chicago Tribune reports that he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease that involves the swelling of the blood vessels. He was surrounded by friends and family in Chicago, where he and his wife have lived since 1996.
More details to come but, for now, everyone here at FTN wishes to express our heartfelt condolences to Ramis’ family, freinds and, of course, fans.
Obituary by Jonathan Cardwell
It’s a strange feeling when someone famous passes away, especially if it’s a recognisable face from film.
Even though chances are you’ve never met the person in question, you still feel a connection to them through the body of work they’ve amassed over the years. I felt this strangeness with the recent passing of Harold Ramis, perhaps best known (to me, at least) as one quarter of the Ghostbusters and director of arguably the finest romantic comedy of all time, Groundhog Day.
I’ve never met the man, yet I felt sadness upon news of his death based solely on the on screen performances throughout his career as an actor as well as a writer and director. Like a lot of people my age Ghostbusters – and it’s equally great sequel – holds happy memories (and terrifying ones as well); I didn’t see it in the cinema but it’s one of the first films I can remember sitting down to watch on VHS with my parents and as such it’s one of the cornerstone moments of my film watching life. That alone is enough for the film to forever hold a special place in my heart and perhaps the reason why this strange sadness overcame me, as it has done for other famous faces that have sadly passed away, most recently Marcia Wallace (the voice of Mrs. Krapabbel from The Simpsons). He’s as much a part of my childhood as Disney movies and Saturday morning cartoons, shaping me into – for better or worse – the person I am today.
Ramis’ performance isn’t the most show-y of the actors in the film, but his quiet measured performance as Dr. Egon Spengler anchors the film when it could easily veer into silliness, which makes it all the more hilarious when his extremely serious veneer cracks and he makes a funny – “Doe, Ray, Egon” along with the cheeky face he makes still absolutely cracks me up. And although he might not be the first person you think of when someone says Ghostbusters he was absolutely integral to the creation of that most beloved of 80s comedies, writing both movies along with Dan Aykroyd he had been trying for the past few years to get a third movie off the ground.
But we shouldn’t be too sad. When close family members pass away, we have the memories of the good times to make us smile and while we may have lost a gifted comedy performer and skilled writer/director in Harold Ramis, we can still, much like his excellent Groundhog Day, watch his films over and over and over again, his cinematic legacy will live on and he’ll never truly be gone.