Above: Harold Ramis in the iconic Ghostbusters movie.
The great comedy and film guru Harold Ramis died Monday February 24, 2014, due to complications of autoimmune inflammatory disease, with which he fought valiantly for many years. At least he died at the age of 69, the most comedic of ages. Comedians, film stars, comedy writers alike have come together to mourn the insanely funny director, writer, and actor, the outpouring of emotion proving his lasting influence on the entertainment community. The best of the Ghostbusters will be sorely missed.
Before becoming an iconic contributor to a whole swatch of Hollywood comedies, Ramis was a regular at Second City (alongside John Belushi), an editor at Playboy, and later a part of The National Lampoon Radio Hour, spearheaded by Bill Murray. Building on the comedic success of the National Lampoon crew, Ramis penned a script that would later become the incredibly silly and legendary Animal House, which utilized Belushi’s gross style and set the silver screen on a raunchier path.
After Animal House, Ramis collaborated a bunch with Murray and Ivan Reitman, helping create films such as Stripes, Caddyshack (gophers are the best villains), and Meatballs, all of which were tongue-in-cheek, clever, and the causes of many a belly laugh. He also bring the devilishly silly film Bedazzled to life, which is a win I guess (Brendan Fraser is the worst but Elizabeth Hurley as the devil was worth the ticket price)
Ramis’s true triumphs, though, were the magnificent Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters (I and II). Groundhog Day, starring Murray, was and is incredibly intelligent and entertaining, and had the best pick up tactic in all of cinema (if you don’t know what I’m talking about, you fail at cinema).
The Ghostbusters films, though, are the greatest films ever conceived by a human mind and anyone who hasn’t seen these iconic flicks (Ramis played the best character in both) is missing out. And now, actually, we’re all missing out because a third film may never see the light of day. I hope cinema honors Ramis and leaves the Ghostbusters alone; his influence was the truly magical part of the films.
Ramis will always be remembered in cinema for all of his comedic genius, and even more so for his portrayal of Dr. Egon Spengler, the best and strangest Ghostbuster. Egon taught us to never cross the streams (you know, because it would eradicate the entire universe via science), that ranting about science for a long time makes anything funny, that it’s ok to collect spores and fungi, that Slinkys can be straightened, and that drilling a hole in one’s own head could actually work. The character was an amazingly executed nerd hero, and cinema is indebted to that particular performance, among many others Ramis gave his audience during his career.
Dr. Spengler, you will be missed so very dearly. Comedy has lost a legend, but your influence survives in the many, many comedy stars and fledgling funny people that continue to follow your dry-witted ways. If we’re ever confronted with a giant Stay Puft Marshmallow Man, we’ll know what to do, thanks to you.
Tell them about the Twinkie in heaven, my friend. My toaster’s dancing for you.