Harold Ramis, who as an actor and a writer-director helped define screen comedy for a generation, has died at the age of 69. The Chicago Tribune's Marc Caro has the story:
Harold Ramis was one of Hollywood’s most successful comedy filmmakers when he moved his family from Los Angeles back to the Chicago area in 1996. His career was still thriving, with "Groundhog Day" acquiring almost instant classic status upon its 1993 release and 1984's "Ghostbusters" ranking among the highest-grossing comedies of all time, but the writer-director wanted to return to the city where he’d launched his career as a Second City performer.
"There's a pride in what I do that other people share because I'm local, which in L.A. is meaningless; no one's local," Ramis said upon the launch of the first movie he directed after his move, the 1999 mobster-in-therapy comedy "Analyze This," another hit. "It's a good thing. I feel like I represent the city in a certain way."
Ramis, a longtime North Shore resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69.
Tributes will be pouring in all day, and we'll collect them here as they do. Here's Nathan Rabin's primer on Ramis' career, and a 90-minute interview with the Museum of the Moving Image's David Schwartz from 2009.
No Harold Ramis, no comedy as we know it today. #RIPHaroldRamis— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 24, 2014
"What could my act be: 'I get too much respect'? And then I’d say all these good things that happened to me?" http://t.co/cU6XJXJ7qJ— Brett Martin (@brettmartin) February 24, 2014
Long before geek chic, Harold Ramis was a smart, wise-ass comedic genius who taught us it could get better, the pre-venge of the Nerds.— James Rocchi (@jamesrocchi) February 24, 2014
It's a fairly deep cut and far from his best/most important work, but Ramis's scene with Rogen is the warmest thing in KNOCKED UP.— Linda Holmes (@nprmonkeysee) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis as Moe Green getting kidnapped by Lutonians on SCTV is the first thing I remember feeling like it was funny for me and only me.— Rob Wesley (@eastwes) February 24, 2014
RIP Harold Ramis. #LongLiveMoeGreen— greg mottola (@gregmottola) February 24, 2014
Pouring out a little Ecto Cooler.— Maris Kreizman (@mariskreizman) February 24, 2014
RIP Harold Ramis. No other modern filmmaker so significantly shaped the comedy zeitgeist.— Steven Zeitchik (@ZeitchikLAT) February 24, 2014
RIP Harold Ramis. Directed the greatest romantic comedy of the last 25 years, GROUNDHOG DAY http://t.co/OLIp9IQKV3— Lou Lumenick (@LouLumenick) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis, the unassuming gravity that held so many of his better-known comedian contemporaries in life-sustaining orbit. R.I.P Ziskey.— Donna Bowman (@donnadb) February 24, 2014
Ramis wasn't just a super smart, talented, nice guy. He seemed really evolved spiritually as well, a real seeker who had found peace.— Nathan Rabin (@nathanrabin) February 24, 2014
If you directed & co-wrote GROUNDHOG DAY--the most exquisitely conceived & executed comedy since Billy Wilder--you are comedy canon. Period.— Scott Renshaw (@scottrenshaw) February 24, 2014
Every tweet of gratitude you post today about Harold Ramis, post it again tomorrow at the same time. Do not explain why to anyone.— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) February 24, 2014
R.I.P, Harold Ramis, who was responsible for GROUNDHOG DAY, GHOSTBUSTERS, ANIMAL HOUSE. I feel like I've lost a great childhood friend.— Pete Croatto (@PeteCroatto) February 24, 2014
I'm stunned by the passing of Harold Ramis, who was instrumental in shaping the comedic sensibility of a generation. RIP.— Frank Sennett (@SennettReport) February 24, 2014
So few people are great writers or actors, fewer still are great directors. Harold Ramis was all three and he made it all seem effortless.— Stephen T Erlewine (@sterlewine) February 24, 2014
But best part of that Q&A was Ramis sharing comedy-writing rules: "Work from the top of your intelligence." http://t.co/j4xG6wjPfp— Mike Russell (@culturepulp) February 24, 2014
R.I.P. Harold Ramis. Comedy has few empaths. He was a brilliant one.— Frank DiGiacomo (@frankdigiacomo) February 24, 2014
Stripes. Caddyshack. Meatballs. Animal House. Basically my entire middle-school mind.— Michael Agger (@magger) February 24, 2014
"My characters aren't losers. They're rebels... They win by their refusal to play by everyone else's rules." R.I.P. Harold Ramis— Diana D. Drumm (@DianaDDrumm) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis made single best US comedy film of the decade in both 1980s AND 1990s. Deserves ranking next to Wilder, Allen, Chaplin, Hawks.— timhorsburgh (@timhorsburgh) February 24, 2014
Ramis has the assist on the greatest line in all of comedy. Were it not for his set-up, we'd never have "that's a big twinkie."— Jordan Hoffman (@jhoffman) February 24, 2014
Growing up on 80s comedies, you wanted to be Bill Murray, but felt you could be Harold Ramis. He made smart, funny & not a jerk look good.— Mark Olsen (@IndieFocus) February 24, 2014