Harold Ramis Death: Hollywood Mourns Writer-Director
UPDATED: Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Billy Crystal, Judd Apatow and Jack Black are among those remembering the man behind "Animal House," "Caddyshack" and "Ghostbusters."
Writer, director and actor Harold Ramis died Monday from complications related to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition he battled for the past four years. He was 69. Ramis co-wrote, starred in and directed legendary comedies such as Animal House, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters I and II, Stripes and Groundhog Day.
Bill Murray, who worked with Ramis on multiple films and other projects, said in a statement: "Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon show off-Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him."
Dan Aykroyd, who starred alongside Ramis in both Ghostbusters films, said in a statement obtained by The Hollywood Reporter, that he's "deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking."
Judd Apatow, who directed Ramis as Seth Rogen's character's father in Knocked Up, had fond memories of Ramis' films and the man himself.
"Harold Ramis made almost every movie which made me want to become a comedy director," Apatow said in a statement obtained by THR. "Animal House, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Vacation, Groundhog Day. These films are the touchstones of our lives. I interviewed him when I was 16 years old for my high school radio station, and he could not have been more gracious and hilarious. I looked up to him as a director but even more so as a man. We hired him to play Seth's father in Knocked Up because we all saw him as the dream dad -- funny, warm and wise. Harold was one of the nicest people I have ever met and he inspired countless people to go into comedy. His brilliant work will make people happy forever."
Rogen went on to say of his on-screen father in Knocked Up: "It was one of the true joys of my career to get to work with Harold. He was endlessly kind and hilarious, and gave gruff-voiced Jews the world over a cinematic icon. I will miss him very much and my thoughts are with his friends and family."
Billy Crystal, who starred in Ramis' Analyze This and That, said of the writer-director: "Harold was a gentle funny man. He found the perfect tone for Robert DeNiro and I in Analyze This. He was a good man, and I am shocked and saddened at his passing."
DeNiro added: "I'm very sad to hear of Harold’s passing. He was a warm, sweet, gentle and kind man. I greatly enjoyed working with him, and he shall be missed."
Ivan Reitman, who produced many of Ramis' films including Animal House, Stripes and the Ghostbusters franchise, directing the latter two, said in a statement: "The world has lost a wonderful, truly original, comedy voice with the passing of Harold Ramis. He possessed the most agile mind I’ve ever witnessed. He always had the clearest sense of what was funny and how to create something in a new clever way. He was very generous about making everyone around him look better and smarter. Harold had an extraordinary impact on my career, and I loved him like a brother. My heart goes out to his children, and his lovely wife, Erica. He will be profoundly missed."
Jack Black, who starred in one of Ramis' final films, Year One, said of the writer-director: "Harold was a force of good in the universe. So funny, sweet and thoughtful. He will be deeply missed."
Ramis' Ghostbusters co-star Sigourney Weaver said in a statement: “Working with Harold on Ghostbusters was one of the happiest experiences of my life. He was amazingly talented, kind and generous and always came up with these stealthy and incredibly funny lines. His movies are so brilliant, and Harold was so low key about it all. It's a huge loss.”
Andie MacDowell, who starred in Groundhog Day and Multiplicity, which Ramis co-wrote and directed, said: "I was fortunate to be able to do two movies with Harold Ramis. He was the kindest of all of the directors with whom I have worked. I also considered him a genius. Aside from his talent, he could do the New York Times crossword puzzle in record time. I was lucky to have known him as well as I did. I will miss him."
John Cusack, who starred in Ramis' 2005 film The Ice Harvest, said in a statement: "Harold was wonderful man -- such an influential figure -- a great soul and a great mind -- so funny and subversive and kind -- RIP.”
President Obama also mourned the death of Ramis, quoting Caddyshack in sharing that he and Michelle's thoughts are with other fans of the writer-director-actor's work.
"Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City," Obama said of the Chicago native in a statement released Tuesday. "When we watched his movies -- from Animal House and Caddyshack to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day -- we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon and who hope that he received total consciousness."
Seth Meyers, Albert Brooks, Jon Favreau and Seth MacFarlane were among the comedians, actors and directors who quickly took to Twitter to mourn the late comedy star. Dane Cook, Zach Braff and Pee-Wee Herman also chimed in on Facebook.
See what Hollywood is saying about Ramis on social media.
So sad to hear about Harold Ramis. One of the all time greats.— Seth Meyers (@sethmeyers) February 24, 2014
Awful news; Harold Ramis was a brilliant writer and director, and a very very good man. RIP— Michael McKean (@MJMcKean) February 24, 2014
The best. pic.twitter.com/RRK3EYXDp7— Adam Scott (@mradamscott) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis passes....comic genius. Will be missed. #rip— Shane West (@shanewest_1) February 24, 2014
If there's a heaven, I hope Harold Ramis is making Aristophanes, Cervantes & Molière sing "Da Do Run Run Run"— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 24, 2014
No no not Harold Ramis. Worked for him years ago. He was the real deal. Growing up, his work changed my life. He will be missed.— Jon Favreau (@Jon_Favreau) February 24, 2014
RIP HAROLD RAMIS SCTV, 3/24/77 - "MO GREEN'S FEEDBACK CALL-IN" http://t.co/EtCgJl5i0D— Craig Bierko (@MrCraigBierko) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis was a brilliant, shining example for every comedy writer hoping to achieve excellence the field. He will be sorely missed.— Seth MacFarlane (@SethMacFarlane) February 24, 2014
So sad to hear about Harold Ramis. Comedy lost a big one— Albert Brooks (@AlbertBrooks) February 24, 2014
So sad to lose Harold Ramis. Ghostbuster, Groundhog, and Moe Green. A funny and very nice man. Rest in peace, Harold— Fred Willard (@Fred_Willard) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis is one of my true all-time comedy heroes and influences. Rest in peace.— David Wain (@davidwain) February 24, 2014
I will be forever grateful for all that Harold Ramis helped bring into this world. His art and vision will be sorely missed.— Zachary Levi (@ZacharyLevi) February 24, 2014
Very sad to hear that we lost Harold Ramis. Exceptionally talented, exceptionally kind.— Julianne Moore (@_juliannemoore) February 24, 2014
Just got off the plane to find out Egon is gone! RIP HAROLD RAMIS, director of one of my favorite flicks, VACATION. http://t.co/VijLlUTjph— KevinSmith (@ThatKevinSmith) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis. Funny, gracious, kind hearted. A joy to have known you.— Steve Carell (@SteveCarell) February 24, 2014
So sorry to hear about the death of Harold Ramis, a comedy master. Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and more.— Steve Martin (@SteveMartinToGo) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis was a kind, wise, hilarious, brilliant guy with a buddhist heart. So grateful to have worked for him. Sending love to his fam.— olivia wilde (@oliviawilde) February 24, 2014
Caddyshack. Griswalds. Egon Spengler was always my favorite Ghostbuster. Genius. My condolences to Mr. Ramis's family. #RIPHaroldRamis— Justin Timberlake (@jtimberlake) February 24, 2014
Mr. Ramis, your work influenced a generation. GROUNDHOG DAY alone is a gift beyond measure. I am saddened "beyond all rational thought."— andrew stanton (@andrewstanton) February 24, 2014