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FILM

February 24, 2014

Harold Ramis, 1944-2014

Harold Ramis (l) confers with former hair-bender-turned-producer Jon Peters on the set of the 1980 mega-hit Caddyshack. (c) Warner Brothers
Film fans mourn the loss today of movie maker Harold Ramis. Among the talented writer-director-actor's most famous credits are Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. (c) Warner Brothers

Film fans mourn the loss today of movie maker Harold Ramis. Among the talented writer-director-actor’s most famous credits are Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Caddyshack. (c) Warner Brothers

Film fans mourn the loss today of Director/Writer/Producer/Actor Harold Ramis. He was 69.

Ramis was born in Chicago, where his creative flair for comedy brought him into the orbit of other avante garde comedians.  He connected with Windy City improvisational comics like Gilda Radner, Dan Ackroyd, Bill Murray and John Belushi. The perormers formed a life-long bond that would lead them eventually to Hollywood.

After stints with the National Lampoon Radio Hour and work for Playboy Magazine, Ramis headed for Los Angeles and the movies. Comedy was changing in films at that time, and Harold Ramis rode the crest in this new development.

Some of the highly popular–and high-grossing–films Ramis was writer and/or director and/or producer were such comedy classics as Animal House, Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Meatballs, and Stripes. He helmed two of Hollywood’s most successful comedies, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day.

Harold Ramis (l) confers with former hair-bender-turned-producer Jon Peters on the set of the 1980 mega-hit Caddyshack. (c) Warner Brothers

Harold Ramis (l) confers with former hair-bender-turned-producer Jon Peters on the set of the 1980 mega-hit Caddyshack. (c) Warner Brothers

Ramis has a personal connection to me. He attended Washington University here in St. Louis in the mid-1960s. After graduation, he went to work for a local mental hospital. He always averred—in total seriousness–that his experience there helped prepare him for dealing with actors and other Hollywood types.

I had the great pleasure of hearing him speak once, and meeting him afterwards. Not only was he a talented filmmaker, but a very, very nice man.

 






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