The late Harold Ramis has been named as winner of a prestigious lifetime achievement award in the field of screenwriting, a press release said.
Ramis, who co-wrote the wildly popular big-screen comedies Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, Meatballs, and Animal House, has been chosen as the recipient of the Writers Guild of America, West (WGAW)’s Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement, a WGAW press release said.
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Erica Mann Ramis and family will accept the award on behalf of the late screenwriter-director-actor-producer at the Writers Guild Awards ceremony on February 14. Harold Ramis passed away on February 24, 2014 at the age of 69, the WGAW press release said.
“Harold Ramis changed the face of comedy. His death last year deprived us of his unique way of seeing the world, at once hilarious and wise. From his early work with National Lampoon and SCTV through Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters, Ramis’ voice was strong, clear, outrageous in all the best ways, ” said WGAW Vice President Howard Rodman.
Ramis broke into show business with the guerrilla television collective “TVTV” and wrote freelance pieces for the Chicago Daily News, which led to his start at comedy writing. In 1969, he began studying and performing with Chicago’s Second City improv comedy theater, Variety said.
From 1976 to 1979, Ramis wrote for and appeared as part of the cast of the acclaimed late-night sketch comedy series SCTV, serving as its head writer and associate producer from 1976-77, as well as supervising writer during its 1978 season, the press release said.
Ramis mined his own college life experiences for his Hollywood screenwriting debut, collaborating on the script for the 1978 box-office hit frat comedy film, National Lampoon’s Animal House.
In quick succession, Ramis co-wrote a quartet of big-screen comedy hits: 1978’s Animal House; 1979’s summer camp romp Meatballs; 1980’s country club satire Caddyshack, for which he made his directorial debut; and 1981’s madcap military farce Stripes, the press release said.
On a roll in the ’80s, Ramis would follow up this successful feature film run by co-writing and co-starring in 1984’s sci-fi comedy hit Ghostbusters, as well as its successful 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II. In 1993, Ramis co-wrote and directed what many consider his most acclaimed feature film comedy, Groundhog Day. He later co-wrote 1999’s Analyze This and its 2002 sequel, Analyze That, both of which he directed, according to the press release.
Ramis often served as producer on the many films he co-wrote and directed. His final feature film was the 2009 caveman comedy Year One, which he co-wrote, directed, and co-produced,
In 2001, he was inducted into the American Screenwriters Association’s Screenwriting Hall of Fame, the press release said.
Previous Jewish winners of the WGAW Laurel Award, which has been presented every year since 1953, include Neil Simon (1979), Woody Allen (1987), Mel Brooks (2003), David Mamet (2005), Barry Levinson (2010) and Eric Roth (2012).