Mon
Feb 24 2014 12:45pm

Harold Ramis, 1944-2014

We are saddened to report the death of one of our beloved film icons. Harold Ramis, comedian, writer, and director, died early Monday morning after a long illness. He was 69. Ramis began his career with legendary improv troupe Second City in Chicago, before moving into film, and he leaves behind a classic body of work, including writing credits on National Lampoon’s Animal House, Stripes, and Ghostbusters, in which he also played Egon Spengler. He directed Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Analyze This, and one of the best philosophical time-loop movies that has ever been made, Groundhog Day.

It may be a cliché to talk about someone changing the state of comedy, or the direction of a stranger’s life, but everyone here at Tor.com embraces those clichés today. Harold Ramis didn’t just change comedy, he defined it for many of us. His brand of smart-assery permeated our childhoods, particularly in his pairings with Bill Murray. After bringing the razor-edged black humor of the National Lampoon to movie screens with Animal House, he further refined the “snobs vs slobs” subgenre with Meatballs and Caddyshack. These films celebrated underdogs and nerds, without ever resorting to stock images of bespectacled losers—Ramis’ nerds were all unique individuals who defied stereotyping, and this came to its apex with Ghostbusters. Egon Spengler is not just a super-nerd, he’s also right about everything, willing to walk into battles with the supernatural, and even becomes an object of love for Annie Potts’ Janine.

And that is all before we get to Groundhog Day. In this film, Ramis proved that he was comfortable with genre-hopping, genre-mashing, genre-blending—basically, he ignored genre entirely in service of a story of growth and human potential, and turned February 2nd into one of the best days of the year.

Harold Ramis is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, and a legacy of films and jokes that enriched all of our lives. He will be terribly missed.

9 comments
Jenny Thrash
1. Sihaya
Slept late.
Feel great.
Wine and women
All gone.
Spare time
All gone.
Bye-bye.

-Stripes
Frank Borgia
2. Frank Borgia
Never let them see you sweat. Rest in peace funnyman. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=75HVcA3SdcQ
james Pope
3. jim162065
I love Ground Hog Day. He was a really great director.
Tricia Irish
4. Tektonica
A great comedic mind has been lost. He was touching, as well as very very funny.
Dixon Davis
5. KadesSwordElanor
When I was young me and my cousin would never cross the stream, when we peed together, while woods exploring. We were scared of every molecule in our wieners exploding at the speed of light. :)
Frank Borgia
6. Eugene R.
I will remember Mr. Ramis best from his work on SCTV, the televised skit show he made with alumni of the Toronto Second City troupe. His humor took no prisoners, like the time his character Mo Green was hosting the quiz show Dialing for Dollars and kept getting a persistent suicidal caller (John Candy):

Caller: "Mo, now I'm sticking my head into the oven."
Mo Green: "Well, you'd better make some holes in the bag over your head or the gas isn't going to work, sir" (Hangs up)
Frank Borgia
7. James2
This sucks. This hurts big time, like a piece of my childhood has died.

Of the four Ghostbusters, Egon Spengler was always my favorite character. I think my love of scientific experts/inventor characters (ex. Rodney McKay, Emmett L. Brown, Spock) is rooted in Egon.

At the very least, I can't look at Twinkies without his (in)famous Twinkie metaphor from the original film
Alan Brown
8. AlanBrown
A great actor, a great actor and a great director--he did it all.
I will never forget that night when the ship pulled into Ketchikan, and we all headed out to a bar. But along the way, we passed a movie theater that was playing a new movie, "Animal House." I decided to see the movie instead of going out drinking, and I don't think I had ever laughed that hard. And that was just the start of a wonderful run of movies Ramis was involved in, each a delight in its own way.
He will be missed.
Lauren Hartman
9. naupathia
Aw, now I'm really sad =(

Such a great man. Egon was always my favorite. And Groundhog Day is my favorite movie ever. (I always watch it at least twice in a row, everytime).

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