The world is laughing a little less as writer, director and actor Harold Ramis passed away early Monday morning. He was 69.
According to a statement released by his talent agency, United Talent, Ramis died due to complications related to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare condition where the white blood cells attack the walls of the body’s own blood vessels. Ramis had been battling this condition for the past 4 years and even had to relearned to walk. While it did look promising for a while, Ramis suffered a relapse in 2011.
Many sci-fi genre fans know Ramis from his portrayal as Egon Spengler, the uber serious scientific member of the ‘Ghostbusters’ team, but he was much more – especially behind the camera. Ramis has been the driving force of many beloved comedies by writing, producing and/or directing these movies. Some of his most memorable films include ‘National Lampoon’s Animal House’, ‘Stripes’, ‘Caddyshack’, ‘Groundhog Day’, ‘Analyze This’, ‘Analyze That’, the vignette titled ‘So Beautiful and So Dangerous’ in ‘Heavy Metal’ and ‘Year One’.
In an interview with The Wall Street Journal in 2009, Ramis explained the common thread of his early films:
“The stuff I was doing in the late ’70s and ’80s was, and I’m as Jewish as anybody, more about me coming of age in the ’60s and my attraction to a revolutionary spirit in both personal, cultural and political matters. My early movies were all about individuals against institutions, and empowering the underdogs. I always thought of our characters as smart rebels, as opposed to losers.”
Hollywood has come out expressing their sadness of the news of Ramis’ passing:
Late last year it was reported that Ramis may be returning to the big screen to briefly reprise his role as Egon for ‘Ghostbusters 3’. Longtime collaborator and friend, Dan Aykroyd, said in a statement:
“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.”
While better known as the straight man, the smartness of his scripts and the sheer talent from this man will leave a hole that will be hard to fill.
We, at ScienceFiction.com, send our thoughts and condolences to Ramis’ family, friends and fans.
RIP Harold Ramis.