Ghostbusters’ “Egon Spengler” Actor, Harold Ramis, Passes Away at 69


Harold Ramis, the actor that delighted a generation of Ghostbusters fans, has died on February 24, 2014, at the age of 69 in his Chicago home, surrounded by family and friends.  His cause of death was complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare vascular condition that he has been battling since 2010.

Ramis leaves a legacy behind as a highly acclaimed comedy icon – as an actor, writer and director, having co-wrote the “Ghostbusters” with fellow actor and writer Dan Aykroyd.  He was a master of creating hilarious plots, as seen on several of his movies like “Groundhog Day”, “National Lampoon’s Animal House”, and of course, the “Ghostbusters” series.

In fact, he co-wrote and directed “Analyze This”, who starred actors Robert DeNiro and Billy Crystal in 1999, and was followed by a sequel, “Analyze That”.  He also directed the comedy “Caddyshack” in 1980 as his directorial debut.

Judd Apatow, producer of “The 40 Year Old Virgin” and “Knocked Up”, said “he literally made every single one of our favorites movies”.  “His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy.  We grew up on ‘Second City TV’, and ‘Ghostbusters’, ‘Vacation’, ‘Animal House’, ‘Stripes’, and ‘Meatballs’.”

Despite all of these successes, he was regarded by most of his peers as very down to earth, “the least changed by success… in terms of humor, of humility, [and] sense of self”, said Bernie Sahlins. “He’s had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head”.

Harold Ramis was born in Chicago on November 21, 1944 to Ruth and Nathan Ramis.  He graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, and started his professional writing career as a freelance art stories contributor to the Chicago Daily News in the mid-1960’s.

In 1996, amid his still thriving career, he decided to move back to the Chicago area.  At the time of his death, he is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, his two sons Julian and Daniel, his daughter Violet, his brother Steve, and two grandchildren.

A private service was held on February 26 in North Shore Congregation Israel in Glencoe, Illinois, which was attended by colleagues spanning Ramis’ illustrious career as a director-actor-writer.  His family has said that a public memorial will take place in Chicago around May of this year.