Actor, writer, producer, and director Harold Ramis has passed away from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. He was 69 years old. A press release from his agency read: “His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him.”
The Writer’s Bone team remembers their favorite moments from Ramis’ career:
Hassel Velasco: Harold Ramis is known by most people for his work on the “Ghostbusters” movies, but his body of work expands way beyond the 1984 classic and its 1989 sequel. Ramis was not only an actor; he was also a writer, producer and director.
As a writer, I’d like to believe a lot of my comedy and structure derived from his early work. In 1998, I discovered a new channel on my television, Comedy Central. My parents had just paid for cable and one of the first movies I watched was “Caddyshack.”
I admit it, some of the humor was a little over my head. However, to a 13-year-old boy, a dancing gopher is a sure fire shot comedy-wise. 15 years later, I own the movie and I can comfortably say it gets a lot of playback. I consider it my “feel good” movie.
So, to the writer of “Groundhog Day,” “Bedazzled,” “Year One,” “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” “Stripes,” “Back to School,” “Ghostbusters I & II,” “Analyze This,” “Analyze That;” and to the director of “National Lampoon’s Vacation;” and for his contribution to countless other films and television series, we thank you for all the laughter.
Harold Ramis, you will be missed greatly. Our thoughts are with his family and loved ones.
Sean Tuohy: As much as I loved Harold Ramis in front of the camera (“Ghostbusters,” “Knocked Up”) his true skill was behind the camera. Ramis was a gifted comedy writer who upped the playing field for all of Hollywood.
I grew to love Ramis when I was 14 years old and was given a special copy of “Animal House,” the undisputed king of all college comedies, and I watched a special where Ramis talked about writing the movie.
Ramis spoke about comedy writing the same way baseball coaches talk about the game; they know so much but are always willing to learn more. Ramis always made sure that all his scripts had strong jokes but had stronger characters. “Well, for me, it's the relationship between comedy and life”, Ramis once said regarding his work. His characters were flawed humans who despite all their hard work would always be flawed because his characters were real people and real people always have flaws.
To prove how funny he was, Ramis died when he was 69, knowing it was the funniest number to go out on.
Daniel Ford: Damn it Egon.
I haven’t been this bummed about a celebrity death since John Spencer died in 2005.
I’ve loved everything Harold Ramis has done in front of and behind the camera, but he’ll always be Egon Spengler to me. As I’ve mentioned on this website and our podcast, I was a “Ghostbusters” fanatic as a kid. Back then, all I cared about was a cool group of guys with awesome proton packs running around the city trappin’ ghosts.
As an adult, I’m better able to appreciate the snarky and dark humor of both the original and 1989 sequel. While I enjoyed Bill Murray’s Peter Venkman more as a youngster, it’s Harold Ramis’ Egon that cracks up me up today. Ramis’ comedic timing and delivery of Egon’s staccato egghead lines are comedy gold.
Few things in either movie make me laugh out loud harder than Egon’s face after Peter asks, “You’re not sleeping with it, are you Ray,” and his smirk after singing “Egon” following his partners’ “Do” and “Re.”
Egon also forecasted the death of my chosen profession in 1984. We can also thank Egon for giving men one of the best pick-up lines of all time. “I collect spores, molds, and fungus.” Ghostbusters: "Print is Dead"
RIP Harold Ramis. You had one of the biggest Twinkies in comedy.
Here are a few of our other favorite Harold Ramis moments:
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