Harold Ramis lives on as a Ghostbuster

Photo by Justin Hoch, via Wikimedia Commons

Jennipher Schafer/Contributing Writer 

I was just a little kid when I wanted to be a real Ghostbuster.  Never mind that most of the humor went over my head in the film and its sequel.  I still wanted my very own proton pack and knew not to cross the streams or look directly into the trap when it was open.  Who cared that it would be an unlicensed nuclear reactor in a backpack?  I would have been the luckiest kid in the world to have it.  Now my favorite member of the team is gone.

Harold Ramis was best known for his roles in films like National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978), Stripes (1981), Heavy Metal (1981), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Ghostbusters I and II (1984 and 1989), and Groundhog Day (1993).  While most of his acting roles were during the 1980’s, many have stood the test of time and are still enjoyed today.

Ramis wasn’t only an actor though.  He was also a talented screenwriter and collaborated on several works including Meatballs (1979), Caddyshack (1980), Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ghostbusters I and II, and Groundhog Day.  Moreover he became a director later in his career with films such as Analyze This (1999), Bedazzled (2000), and the 2006 season of the television show The Office.

In 2004 Ramis was added to the St. Louis Walk of Fame which honors notable Americans from the city for contributions to society including culture and film.  In 2005 he won the Distinguished Screenwriter Award at the Austin Film Festival.

Ramis died of complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease that involves swelling of blood vessels, on Feb. 24, 2014.  He had been suffering with the condition for some time.  Whether it was due to the illness or not, his former co-star and estranged friend Bill Murray came to visit him before he died.  The two had a falling out after working together on the film Groundhog Day which lasted twenty-one years.  It was Murray’s brother who initiated the reconnection when Ramis was first diagnosed in 2010.

Many will remember Ramis for always portraying somewhat nerdy roles.  He was often the somewhat awkward, but not too awkward intellectual.  A good number will remember him as Dr. Egon Spengler the sarcastic and highly intelligent member of the Ghostbusters’ team. Meanwhile, Ramis is survived by his three children and his wife Erica.

Ramis’ memory will not be lost. Ghostbusters III is still going to go ahead as planned though the Hollywood Reporter says that the original planned baton-passing from the original trio will be changed to reflect the loss.


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