Actor/director Harold Ramis has died at the age of 69, reports The Chicago Tribune.
Ramis is best remembered for his work with Bill Murray on movies like Ghostbusters, Caddyshack and Groundhog Day. The last movie he directed was Year One in 2009, starring Jack Black and Michael Cera. In addition to working with Murray, Ramis received major critical and financial success with his movies, Analyze This and Vacation.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Ramis Suffered From a Rare Disease
According to the National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute:
Vasculitis can affect any of the body’s blood vessels. These include arteries, veins, and capillaries. Arteries carry blood from your heart to your body’s organs. Veins carry blood from your organs and limbs back to your heart. Capillaries connect the small arteries and veins.
If a blood vessel is inflamed, it can narrow or close off. This limits or prevents blood flow through the vessel. Rarely, the blood vessel will stretch and weaken, causing it to bulge. This bulge is known as an aneurysm.
The report from the NHLBI adds that “much is still unknown about vasuclitis” and it’s rare for the condition to be fatal.
If a Twinkie represents amount of grief I feel when someone dies, Harold Ramis' death would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing 600 pounds.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 24, 2014
2. Most Will Remember Him as Dr. Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters
It’s not known where his death leaves the future of Ghostbusters III. In December 2013, it was reported that Jonah Hill was considering signing on for the sequel.
Dan Akroyd, who was Ramis’ co-writer, on the movies, said in October 2013, that the movie was still going through re-writes. He added that Bill Murray was still not involved. The plot for the movie is planned to involve the original Ghostbusters training in the new school. According to Akroyd:
It’s based on new research that’s being done in particle physics by the young men and women at Columbia University. […] Basically, there’s research being done that I can say that the world or the dimension that we live in, our four planes of existence, length, height, width and time, become threatened by some of the research that’s being done. Ghostbusters — new Ghostbusters — have to come and solve the problem.
Ramis had said back in 2010 that the third movie would be out by Christmas 2012, he said:
Well, there’s been a lot of talk about a third Ghostbusters film, which has now become real. It’s… I can say with some certainty that there will be a third movie. It won’t be out until Christmas 2012, but the work is going on now.
RIP Harold Ramis. I'll be watching the masterful Groundhog Day for the 100th time in tribute
— Stephen Merchant (@StephenMerchant) February 24, 2014
3. Ramis Was a Proud Chicagoan
He was a Chicago native. His parents, Ruth and Nathan Ramis, owned the Ace Food & Liquor Mart on Chicago’s North Side. Every season, Ramis, an avid Cubs fan, would conduct a seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field.
"I collect spores, molds, and fungus" – condolences to the family and friends of the great Harold Ramis
— Jimmy Kimmel (@jimmykimmel) February 24, 2014
4. He Rose Up Through the Comedy Ranks With Bill Murray
Ramis was part of the late-70s/80s Chicago underground comedy scene with Bill Murray and John Belushi. The trio were all members of the famed Second City. A 2004 New Yorker piece on Ramis discussed his time at Second City, “Sloppiness is a key part of improve. And Harold brought that to Hollywood, rescuing comedies from their smooth, polite perfection.”
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
5. Ramis is Survived by His Wife and 3 Kids
He was married to Erica Mann Ramis. She was his second wife, the couple had two children, Julian Arthur (born May 10, 1990) and Daniel Hayes (born August 10, 1994). In addition, Ramis had a daughter, Violet (born 1977), with his first wife, Anne.
Sad to hear brilliant comedian, writer & director Harold Ramis has passed. A giant talent & extremely nice man. RIP. pic.twitter.com/b1RFFKGW9G
— Pee-wee Herman (@peeweeherman) February 24, 2014
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