Harold Ramis was a true American icon. He was either in whole or in part responsible for some of the most influential comedy works ever put on film. He was born in Chicago in 1944 and got his start in comedy editing jokes for Playboy magazine. In 1969 he became part of one of the most well known comedy troupe’s of all time Second City, a group that is still working today. As an example of just how important Second City is to comedy in the United States other members included John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner. He left Second City to work on a television show with fellow alums John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray. In the late 70’s Ramis became head writer on a Canadian based comedy series called SCTV that featured other comedy greats such as Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, John Candy, Catherine O’Hara, and Rick Moranis. The late 70’s was an era of evolution for comedy where writers and performers were pushing boundaries and changing the way we appreciate funny. Ramis worked with all of these comedy greats and as a head writer could easily be given credit for making them look good.
After SCTV Ramis took Hollywood by storm crafting some of the funniest and most important comedy films ever put on the silver screen. He first co-wrote National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978. He followed that film with a string of writing credits on Meatballs, stripes, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II. He also acted in several of these films. Ramis made his directorial debut in 1980 with the Chevy Chase film Caddyshack. He continued his writing career with such films as National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day, Multiplicity, Analyze This and Analyze That, and even most recently some episodes of The Office.
There have been rumblings for many years about a Ghostbustersreunion film but that project was never able to get off the ground probably due to a major falling out that occurred between Ramis and Bill Murray during the filming of Groundhog Day.
Hopefully the project will now officially be put to bed. It’s important for younger fans to be aware of creators such as Harold Ramis because without them we probably wouldn’t have modern films such as Tedand There’s Something about Mary. Ramis died on February 24, 2014 at age 69 from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis. He will be missed.