Actor Harold Ramis passed away today at the age of 69 from complications due to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare blood disease. He was a prolific comedy director and writer, bringing Animal House, National Lampoon’s Vacation and Groundhog Day among others to the big screen. To most though, he was known as Egon Spengler, the brilliant and dry scientist in the Ghostbusters movies.
It’s hard to write about for me. While I’m not familiar with everything Ramis did, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day are two of my favorite comedies and it’s hard to ignore the influence his work has had on the modern comedy landscape. Judd Apatow has said of him, “His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy… he literally made every single one of our favorite movies.”
Comedian Patton Oswalt tweeted, “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.” It’s probably fair to say we’re all feeling that today.
Ramis is survived by wife Erica, his two sons Julian and Daniel, his two grandchildren, and an unmatched comedy legacy.