News / Arts & Entertainment

Actor/Director Harold Ramis, 69, Dies

FILE - Actor and director Harold Ramis walks the Red Carpet as he arrives to celebrate The Second City's 50th anniversary in Chicago, Dec. 12, 2009.
FILE - Actor and director Harold Ramis walks the Red Carpet as he arrives to celebrate The Second City's 50th anniversary in Chicago, Dec. 12, 2009.
Reuters
Comedy actor and director Harold Ramis, best known for films such as “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day” and “Caddyshack,” died at his home in Chicago at the age of 69 of complications from a rare vascular disease, his agent said on Monday.
 
Ramis, who had suffered from the rare illness since 2010, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by family members.
 
“I'm sad to say the news is true. He passed away from complications related to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis,” said Chris Day, a spokesman for the United Talent Agency in Los Angeles.
 
“His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him,” his family said in a statement.
 
Friends, colleagues and co-stars of Ramis expressed their grief as news spread about his death.
 
“Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis,” tweeted actor Dan Aykroyd, who co-starred with Ramis in the 1984 film “Ghostbusters.”
 
FILE - In an undated file photo, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, center, and Harold Ramis, right, appear in a scene from the 1984 movie FILE - In an undated file photo, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, center, and Harold Ramis, right, appear in a scene from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters".
x
FILE - In an undated file photo, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, center, and Harold Ramis, right, appear in a scene from the 1984 movie
FILE - In an undated file photo, Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, center, and Harold Ramis, right, appear in a scene from the 1984 movie "Ghostbusters".
Ramis played Dr. Egon Spengler in the Ivan Reitman cult comedy “Ghostbusters,” which also starred actor Bill Murray.
 
“Harold Ramis and I together did 'The National Lampoon Show' off-Broadway, 'Meatballs,' 'Stripes,' 'Caddyshack,' 'Ghostbusters' and 'Groundhog Day.' He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him,” Murray said in a statement.
 
Director and actor Jon Favreau said Ramis would be missed.
 
“No, no, not Harold Ramis,” he tweeted. “He was the real deal. Growing up, his work changed my life.”
 
Actor Billy Crystal, who was directed by Ramis in the film “Analyze This,” described him as a brilliant and funny actor and director.
 
“Big loss to us all,” he tweeted.
 
A celebrated director, writer, actor and producer, Ramis grew up in Chicago and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. He worked as an associate editor at Playboy Magazine before he got his start in comedy in 1969 with the city's famous Second City improvisational theater group.
 
He returned to Chicago in 1996 after 20 years in Los Angeles, and got his big break when he co-wrote the comedy hit, “National Lampoon's Animal House” in 1978.
 
Known for his dry wit, Ramis worked on other comedy scripts before making his directorial debut in 1980 with “Caddyshack,” followed three years later by “National Lampoon's Vacation.”
 
In 1993, he co-wrote, produced and directed “Groundhog Day,” about a weatherman, played by Bill Murray, who relives the same day over and over again.
 
Other films he co-wrote and directed include “Analyze This” in 1999, a comedy about a psychiatrist whose main patient is an insecure mobster. Starring Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal, it was followed two years later by a sequel, “Analyze That.”
 
Ramis received The American Comedy Award, the British Comedy Awards and a BAFTA award for screenwriting.
 
He is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, his sons Julian and Daniel, a daughter Violet and two grandchildren.

Error rendering storify.

You May Like

Video One Year After Thai Coup, No End in Sight for Military Rule

Since carrying out the May 22, 2014 coup, the general has retired from the military but is still firmly in charge More

Goodbye, New York

This is what the fastest-growing big cities in America have in common More

Job-Seeking Bangladeshis Risk Lives to Find Work

The number of Bangladeshi migrants on smugglers’ boats bound for Southeast Asian countries has soared in the past two years More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthroughi
X
May 22, 2015 10:23 AM
Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Turkey's Main Opposition Party Hopes for Election Breakthrough

Turkey’s main opposition Republican People’s Party has sought an image change ahead of the June 7 general election. The move comes after suffering successive defeats at the hands of the Islamist-rooted AK Party, which has portrayed it as hostile to religion. Dorian Jones reports from the western city of Izmir.
Video

Video Europe Follows US Lead in Tackling ‘Conflict Minerals’

Metals mined from conflict zones in places like the Democratic Republic of Congo are often sold by warlords to buy weapons. This week European lawmakers voted to force manufacturers to prove that their supply chains are not inadvertently fueling conflicts and human rights abuses. Henry Ridgwell reports from London.
Video

Video Class Tackles Questions of Race, Discrimination

Unrest in some U.S. cities is more than just a trending news item at Ladue Middle School in St. Louis, Missouri. As VOA’s Kane Farabaugh reports, it’s a focus of a multicultural studies class engaging students in wide-ranging discussions about racial tensions and police aggression.
Video

Video Mind-Controlled Prosthetics Are Getting Closer

Scientists and engineers are making substantial advances towards the ultimate goal in prosthetics – creation of limbs that can be controlled by the wearer’s mind. Thanks to sophisticated sensors capable of picking up the brain’s signals, an amputee in Iceland is literally bringing us one step closer to that goal. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video Afghan Economy Sinks As Foreign Troops Depart

As international troops prepare to leave Afghanistan, and many foreign aid groups follow, Afghans are grappling with how the exodus will affect the country's fragile economy. Ayesha Tanzeem reports from the Afghan capital, Kabul.
Video

Video Poverty, Ignorance Force Underage Girls Into Marriage

The recent marriage of a 17-year old Chechen girl to a local police chief who was 30 years older and already had a wife caused an outcry in Russia and beyond. The bride was reportedly forced to marry and her parents were intimidated into giving their consent. The union spotlighted yet again the plight of many underage girls in developing countries. Zlatica Hoke reports poverty, ignorance and fear are behind the practice, especially in Asia and Africa.
Video

Video South Korea Marks Gwangju Uprising Anniversary

South Korea this week marked the 35th anniversary of a protest that turned deadly. The Gwangju Uprising is credited with starting the country’s democratic revolution after it was violently quelled by South Korea’s former military rulers. But as Jason Strother reports, some observers worry that democracy has recently been eroded.
Video

Video California’s Water System Not Created To Handle Current Drought

The drought in California is moving into its fourth year. While the state's governor is mandating a reduction in urban water use, most of the water used in California is for agriculture. But both city dwellers and farmers are feeling the impact of the drought. Some experts say the state’s water system was not created to handle long periods of drought. Elizabeth Lee reports from Ventura County, an agricultural region just northwest of Los Angeles.
Video

Video How to Clone a Mammoth: The Science of De-Extinction

An international team of scientists has sequenced the complete genome of the woolly mammoth. Led by the Swedish Museum of Natural History in Stockholm, the work opens the door to recreate the huge herbivore, which last roamed the Earth 4,000 years ago. VOA’s Rosanne Skirble considers the science of de-extinction and its place on the planet
Video

Video Blind Boy Defines His Life with Music

Cole Moran was born blind. He also has cognitive delays and other birth defects. He has to learn everything by ear. Nevertheless, the 12-year-old has had an insatiable love for music since he was born. VOA’s June Soh introduces us to the young phenomenal harmonica player.

VOA Blogs

New in Music Alley

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Harry Wayne Casey – “KC” of KC and the Sunshine Band – comes to VOA’s Studio 4 to talk with "Border Crossings" host Larry London and perform songs from his new album, “Feeling You! The 60s.”