The late Harold Ramis left an indelible mark on the comedy world upon his passing Monday, leaving behind a body of work that included some of the best-loved comedy films of all time – Animal House, Caddyshack, …
R.I.P. Harold Ramis — ‘Ghostbusters,’ ‘Groundhog Day’ Comedy Veteran Was 69; President Obama, Bill Murray, Chevy Chase, Ivan Reitman, Billy Crystal & More Remember Him
4TH UPDATE, 7:38 AM: Fellow Chicago native President Obama released a statement today in tribute to Ramis:
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. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.
3RD UPDATE, MONDAY, 3:25 PM: Reactions to the passing of influential comedy helmer and actor Harold Ramis continue to roll in.
Chevy Chase on Ramis, who directed him in the classic comedies Caddyshack and Vacation: “I’m shocked and heartbroken to hear of Harold’s passing. He was truly a great friend and a great man who shunned unnecessary Hollywood-type publicity and lived with a wonderful wife, Erica. I’m deeply saddened for Erica, Violet, Julian and Daniel. Harold directed me in Caddyshack and the first Vacation. It was Harold who acted out and gave me the inspiration for the character of Clark Griswold. I was really copying Harold’s impression of Clark. He was a truly funny and highly intelligent man with great honesty and a great appreciation for the best kind of comedy. It’s just awful to lose Harold, there is just no one like him, he was so kind, so caring and so smart. God Bless him and God Bless his family.”
“Harold Ramis and I together did The National Lampoon Show off-Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him,” said Bill Murray in a statement via Reuters.
There’s nobody in Hollywood quite like Bill Murray. Even though Sony Pictures and the Ghostbusters creative team built a sequel around Murray, I’m told the actor still hasn’t contacted the studio to tell them if he’s even read the script script by The Office writers Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky that was delivered to him at the beginning of the year. The movie won’t happen if Bill doesn’t say yes, plain and simple. Now, Murray is being courted to play Franklin Delano Roosevelt in the Roger Michell-directed Hyde Park on the Hudson, the film set up at Focus Features and Film Four with script by Richard Nelson. Like Ghostbusters, this is a film that becomes an immediate go picture if Murray says yes. I’m not sure it happens if he says no, or doesn’t say anything at all.
For days, I’ve heard that Focus has been approaching cast and basically telling them that Murray will do the picture. Focus has denied that to me several times. Perhaps Focus doesn’t want to jinx things because you never really know that you have Murray until he shows up to go to work, which is the reason Ghostbusters III has languished so long–you can’t prep a $150 million picture on a wing and a prayer.