Harold Ramis, an actor, director, and writer best known for his work in comedy classics like Ghostbusters, Stripes, Caddyshack, and (my personal favorite) Groundhog Day, died early Monday from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, according to his family. He was 69.
Here’s the Chicago Tribune, Ramis’ hometown newspaper, with more on the comedy legend and the impressive legacy he leaves behind:
Ramis’ comedies were often wild, silly and tilting toward anarchy, but they also were cerebral and iconoclastic, with the filmmaker heeding the Second City edict to work at the top of one’s intelligence. This combination of smart and gut-bustingly funny led a generation of comedic actors and filmmakers — including Judd Apatow (“The 40 Year Old Virgin,” “Knocked Up”), Jay Roach (“Meet the Parents,” the “Austin Powers” movies), Peter Farrelly ("There’s Something About Mary,” “Dumb and Dumber”), Jake Kasdan ("Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story,” “Orange County,” both of which featured Ramis in small roles) and Adam Sandler (who starred in his own wacky golf comedy, “Happy Gilmore”) — to cite him as a key inspiration. …
With his round glasses lending a professorial air, Ramis would become the calm center of storms brewed by fellow actors, playing the bushy-haired, low-key wisecracker to Bill Murray’s troublemaker in “Stripes” and being the most scientific-minded “Ghostbuster.” Later roles included the sympathetic doctor of James L. Brooks’ “As Good as It Gets” (1997) and the “Knocked Up” (2007) dad, whose dialogue, Apatow said, was almost all improvised.
Look for Brow Beat to have more on Ramis later.