Video: Harold Ramis starred in several comedy classics and also wrote and directed some of Hollywood’s funniest films. But as Francis Silvaggio reports, his comedy roots were in Canada.
TORONTO — Actor and director Harold Ramis, best known for his role in Ghostbusters, died early Monday. He was 69.
His wife Erica Mann Ramis told the Chicago Tribune he was surrounded by loved ones in Chicago when he passed away at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease affecting blood vessels.
During his career, Ramis worked with a long list of Canadians, including Eugene Levy, Michael Cera, Dan Aykroyd and Seth Rogen.
In a statement, Aykroyd called Ramis a “brilliant, gifted, funny, friend, co-writer/performer and teacher.”
READ MORE: A look at some of his memorable roles
A Chicago native, he was a writer on the made-in-Ontario comedy series SCTV in the late ’70s and early ’80s. Ramis also wrote films like the Ontario-shot Meatballs as well as Animal House, Caddyshack and Stripes.
Ramis directed numerous films including Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day and Analyze This. He also directed several episodes of the TV series The Office.
On screen, he appeared on SCTV and in movies like Stripes, As Good As It Gets, Knocked Up and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story. He was perhaps most recognized for starring opposite Aykroyd and Bill Murray in 1984’s Ghostbusters and its 1989 sequel.
Ramis and his SCTV colleagues received an honourary Gemini Award in 1995. He also shared a 1994 BAFTA Award for Original Screenplay with Danny Rubin for Ghostbusters.
In addition to his wife of 25 years, Ramis leaves behind daughter Violet, 36, (with ex-wife Anne Plotkin) and sons Julian, 23, and Daniel, 19, as well as two grandchildren.
Stars were quick to react to the news of Ramis’ death.
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
Stunned and saddened to hear of the death of Harold Ramis. A comedy hero…
— Stephen Fry (@stephenfry) February 24, 2014
Was honored to have gotten to work with Harold Ramis, the Buddha of Comedy. Brilliant, humble, radiant. We’ve lost an icon. #GroundhogDay
— RainnWilson (@rainnwilson) February 24, 2014
© Shaw Media, 2014