News Home RSS Feed

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

In Memoriam: Harold Ramis

Written by Jon Williams

American comic actor, writer, and director Harold Ramis passed away on Monday at the age of 69. While he appeared in a number of films, if you know his face, chances are good that it’s for his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in the Ghostbusters franchise. If you’re a fan of comedy, though, there’s no doubt you’re familiar with his work, as he was involved in many of the funniest films created since 1978.

Ramis got his start in comedy with the famed Second City troupe in Chicago, which led to a stint as a performer and head writer for the sketch comedy series SCTV. During his years working on the show (1976-1979), he worked with two collaborators to write the script for Animal House.

Ramis’s first attempt at writing a feature film was a success, to say the least. It earned over $141 million at the box office, breaking comedy records. He followed it up with the goofy camp comedy Meatballs, the first of six collaborations with Bill Murray. In 1980, he teamed up with Murray again for the golf classic Caddyshack, which he directed as well. He then stepped in front of the camera for the first time, starring with Murray in Stripes (which he also co-wrote), about two slackers who join the army.

After Stripes, Ramis returned to his roots with National Lampoon, writing the original Vacation movie that introduced Chevy Chase as well-meaning family man Clark Griswold. Then Ramis was called in to consult on a Dan Aykroyd script about a dark comedy about a group of enforcers traveling through time and space to battle the paranormal. Ramis brought the story back down to Earth, and the result was the 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters. He joined Aykroyd and Murray on the screen for the film, as he did for the 1989 sequel (one of the few sequels Murray has done in his career).

Cartoonist Ash Vickers (@Mega_Ashra) pays tribute to Harold Ramis/Egon Spengler

Ramis was able to carry his string of classic comedies into the 1990s with the hilarious Groundhog Day in 1993, in which an insufferable Pennsylvania TV weatherman (played by Murray) is forced to relive the same day over and over again. From there, he took a break from writing, but made memorable appearances in the films Airheads and As Good As It Gets (currently unavailable). He came back with a vengeance, penning and directing the 1999 mob comedy Analyze This with Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro, along with the sequel in 2002. The last film Ramis wrote was 2009’s Year One, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera.

Harold Ramis was an undisputed comedy genius, and this is just a sampling of the films he was involved with over the course of his career. For more, SmartBrowse his name on our website.

No comments:

Post a Comment

We'd love to hear what you think! Just be sure to leave your name and email address or your username, so we can respond appropriately.