Published On: Tue, Feb 25th, 2014

Harold Ramis Sadly Passes Away At The Age Of 69

Ramis, the well-known and highly popular actor and film director was best known for his role  in the Ghostbusters  movies  as well as being the creative genius  behind the 1993 cult movie Groundhog Day.

Director Harold Ramis / Getty

Harold Ramis, who had been suffering from a number of years from a rare condition known as autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, has finally succumbed to  the condition, passing away surrounded by family and friends in his North Shore, Chicago home.

Ramis was one of the most talented and popular figures in the film industry, and will be leaving behind a considerable legacy , having produced the screenplay for such classic comedies as “National Lampoon’s Animal House” and “Ghostbusters” (in which he also was a leading member of the cast ) as well as directing a number of box office hits including Caddyshack, released in 1980, “National Lampoon’s Vacation” which was released three years later  and “Analyze This” one of his most recent film  successes, released in 1999 and starring Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro.

Ghostbusters_cover

However Ramis’ film career will most almost certainly be remembered for Groundhog Day starring his good friend Bill Murray.  Groundhog Day, released in 1993, which Harold Ramis wrote,  produced and directed, went on  to become one of  the highest-grossing comedies of all time.

It was after his success with Groundhog Day that Harold Ramis left the right lights of Hollywood, when he decided to move his family back to his hometown of Chicago, where in later years he would concentrate his activities around the small screen becoming head writer (as well as occasionally performing) on Second City’s television series “SCTV, ” and as well as directing a number of episodes for NBC’s “The Office.”

Harold  Ramis graduated from  Washington University in Missouri and began his working career as an attendant in a psychiatric ward, where he was to remain for some time before finding a job as an art writer and one of Chicago’s  local newspapers. Later Ramis was to join the Playboy magazine’s ” providing material for their party jokes” section.

Ramis went on to join the Windy city’s famous Second City comedy troupe, which were well known for their ability to improvise on stage. It was there that he first met the late John Belushi and they became firm friends. Years later Harold Ramis would admit that it was seen Belushi performer made him realize that his strengths are not lie in live performance released so far Belushi was prepared to go to earn a laugh or to make a point on stage.

However Ramos did find a perfect foil  in Bill Murray playing the role of his straight man was on the stage and later in movies with the duo forming a long-lasting friendship which saw them appear in a total of six films together, including Stripes and both the  Ghostbusters movies. In Ghostbusters,  Ramis also starred alongside another close friend Dan Ackroyd, with the pair co-writing the screenplay, while the movie was directed by Ivan Reitman.

Inevitably a sequel was released, coming under the imaginative title of Ghostbusters Two which hit the silver screens  in 1989 with almost exactly the same cast, and Ackroyd and Ramis once again taking care of the screenplay while Ivan Reitman both produced and directed.

For a number of years, Ramis was in  discussions with Bill Murray, Dan Ackroyd and Ivan Reitman to release a third version of the movie icon but sadly this now looks highly unlikely to happen  unless of course, the film is made as a monument to Harold  Ramis’s contributions to the world of entertainment.

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