Many know Harold Ramis from Ghostbusters where he played Dr. Egon Spengler, but Ramis was also one of the driving forces behind Animal House, not to mention he also directed Caddyshack, Vacation, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This. So we've been considerably saddened this week by the news that Ramis passed away at the age of 69.
Ramis was one of the writers on Animal House, Meatballs, Stripes and Ghostbusters, along with playing Dr. Egon Spengler. As the Chicago Tribune tells us, Ramis learned from performing in Second City how to be smart about comedy, and his work was a big influence on many comedians.
Judd Apatow said when he was in high school, Ramis was who he wanted to be when he grew up. “We grew up on Second City TV, Ghostbusters, Vacataion, Animal House, Meatballs; he literally made every single one of those movies.”
Ramis apparently had been in poor health since 2010 when he began suffering from what the Tribune calls “complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels.”
I learned of Ramis’s passing through Facebook, where unfortunately I learn about a lot of celebrity deaths first. One Facebook denizen wrote that Ramis’s obituary was one that “anyone would envy,” and it wasn’t just because of his body of work, but also because Ramis was known as a good guy, “a mensch,” as well.