On Tuesday, the world lost one of the most talented comedic performers, writers and directors of his generation, Harold Ramis. He was 69 years old, and had been suffering from vasculitis, an autoimmune disorder, for some time. His filmography reads like a history of comedy in the 80s, and he will be greatly missed. Ramis believed in comedy as the medium of the underdog, once saying, "It's hard for winners to do comedy. Comedy is inherently subversive… we attack the winners.” After the jump, a few videos to remind us of the greatness of this comic genius.
Most identified with his role as Egon Spengler in the Ghostbusters movies, Ramis recently gave an interview where he discussed, among other things, the possibility of a third film and the difficulty of maintaining quality in a franchise.
Ernie Hudson, Ramis' co-star in the Ghostbusters films, reacted to the news:
Video is no longer available: www.youtube.com/watch?v=KRuelbbSyCc
Starting at at Second City in Chicago, Ramis went on to perform in, write, and direct (sometimes all three) films like Caddyshack, Stripes, National Lampoon's Vacation, and perhaps his masterpiece, Groundhog Day, which he wrote and directed, and was an instant classic; the film is taught in philosophy classes, and its complex structure makes for more than just a comedy. But Ramis brought thoughtfulness and intelligence to everything he did, whether acting, writing, or directing.
After the news of Ramis' passing came in, tributes started pouring in from all over the world. Even the President issued a statement:
Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists and, like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City. When we watched his movies – from Animal House and Caddyshack to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day — we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings.
He will be missed, and his influence on comedy will continue to reverberate for years to come. In closing, here's a half hour documentary on the making of Caddyshack, the classic film directed and co-written by Ramis (and when I say classic, I mean classic: fans can quote whole passages at whim.)
Rest in Peace to a great talent.
What do you think? Are you a Caddyshack fanatic? Were you pining for a Ghostbusters 3? If you write or direct or perform, or even just appreciate comedy, did Ramis have any influence on your work? Let us know in the comments.