The world of comedy has lost a huge talent. Harold Allen Ramis, the actor best known for his role as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, and the writer and director of hit flicks like Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, died early Monday, Feb. 24 at 69.
The Chicago-area native lost his battle to an autoimmune disease while surrounded by his loved ones, Ramis’ wife Erica Mann Ramis told the Chicago Tribune Monday.
Widely regarded among his Hollywood peers as one of the best comedy filmmakers of his time, Ramis’ career extends back to 1978 in his breakout writing gig for Animal House. Five years later, he wrote and starred in the 1981 movie Stripes. He then directed and starred in 1983’s National Lampoon’s Vacation, but among his many acting credits, Ramis is perhaps best-remembered for his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in 1984 cult classic Ghostbusters and its 1989 sequel.
Equally revered for his directorial work, Ramis also helmed flicks like Caddyshack (1980), Analyze This, and its sequel Analyze That (1992 and 2002, respectively). In 1993, the talent wrote, directed, produced, and acted in hit movie Groundhog Day.
Ramis’ most recent film credits include 2007’s smash comedy Knocked Up, in which he played the character of Seth Rogen‘s father, and Year One, which he directed, wrote, and co-produced. He also directed episodes of NBC’s hit sitcom The Office.
Recent comedy movie and showrunners who have been influenced by Ramis include Judd Apatow and Adam Sandler. “When I was 15, I interviewed Harold for my high school radio station, and he was the person that I wanted to be when I was growing up,” Apatow told the Tribune on Monday. “His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy. We grew up on Second City TV and Ghostbusters, Vacation, Animal House, Stripes, Meatballs,’ the Girls executive producer continued to the paper. “He literally made every single one of our favorite movies.”
In addition to wife Erica, he is survived by children Julian, Daniel, and Violet, and two grandkids.
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