Harold Ramis
Comedian, actor, director, screenwriter
Harold Ramis
Harold Allen Ramis is an American actor, director, and writer, specializing in comedy. His best-known film acting roles are as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (1984) and Russell Ziskey in Stripes (1981), both of which he co-wrote. As a writer/director, his films include the comedies Caddyshack (1980), Groundhog Day (1993), and Analyze This (1999).
Biography
Harold Ramis's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Harold Ramis from around the web
Woodstock honors director Harold Ramis with film fest
Chicago Times - 12 months
The town of Woodstock and a movie theater there are paying tribute to director Harold Ramis next week by showing three films that he appeared in and/or wrote.  "A Tribute to Harold Ramis" will be held March 13-15 at the Woodstock Theatre, 209 Main St., and will screen "Ghostbusters," "Stripes"...
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Second City to open Harold Ramis Film School, a first for comedy moviemaking
Chicago Times - about 1 year
Second City announced Tuesday that it is opening what it calls "the world's first film school dedicated to comedy." The new venture at the comedy institution's Chicago headquarters is named for Harold Ramis, the late Second City alumnus and widely beloved mensch who went on to a formidable Hollywood...
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Your First Look At The New 'Ghostbusters' Is Here And It's Epic
Huffington Post - about 1 year
Who you gonna call when you see the first official photo of the new all-female "Ghostbusters" team?  Probably Moviefone, TBH, to see if advance ticket sales have started for the Paul Feig-directed movie, which comes out July 15, 2016. Because the ladies look totally badass.  The four leads -- Melissa McCarthy, Kate McKinnon, Kristen Wiig and Leslie Jones -- stand in tan uniforms reminiscent of those worn by the original squad, in the middle of a mysterious room marked by an industrial-grade fog machine and an eerie neon green light. They're all prepared to bust some ghosts with their proton packs -- which also look pretty close to the weapons in the original.  The superfans at Planet Ghostbusters were among the first to post the photo:  The new movie -- called simply "Ghostbusters" -- reboots the blockbuster franchise more than 30 years after the release of the original, which was written by Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis. The movie began filming in Boston (which ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Bill Murray Got Taken Down A Peg By Andy Warhol At The Best Party He Ever Crashed
Huffington Post - over 1 year
In his Reddit AMA on Wednesday, longtime Hollywood insider Bill Murray shared some stories about the role that got away (in Peter Weir's "The Year of Living Dangerously"), working with Wes Anderson ("he loves to eat") and why he'd want to be on "Flavor of Love," Flavor Flav's short-lived reality series ("really nutty"). But this one story takes the cake. In the '70s, Murray wrote, he crashed an event "called the subway party," thrown for the premiere of "Tommy," a musical film starring Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed and The Who's Roger Daltrey. Murray explained: It was Gilda Radner, Belushi, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, Brian Doyle Murray, and we were all plus 1, probably. It was biggest party ever in NYC at the time. You couldn't get into this party. It was an inner circle thing. It was at an enclosed subway stop, it was a roar. It was a scream. If you made an airport movie with everyone on the plane is a celebrity, it was like that times 10. We were doing a show in the restauran ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Bill Murray Got Taken Down A Peg By Andy Warhol At The Best Party He Ever Crashed
Huffington Post - over 1 year
In his Reddit AMA on Wednesday, longtime Hollywood insider Bill Murray shared some stories about the role that got away (in Peter Weir's "The Year of Living Dangerously"), working with Wes Anderson ("he loves to eat") and why he'd want to be on "Flavor of Love," Flavor Flav's short-lived reality series ("really nutty"). But this one story takes the cake. In the '70s, Murray wrote, he crashed an event "called the subway party," thrown for the premiere of "Tommy," a musical film starring Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed and The Who's Roger Daltrey. Murray explained: It was Gilda Radner, Belushi, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, Brian Doyle Murray, and we were all plus 1, probably. It was biggest party ever in NYC at the time. You couldn't get into this party. It was an inner circle thing. It was at an enclosed subway stop, it was a roar. It was a scream. If you made an airport movie with everyone on the plane is a celebrity, it was like that times 10. We were doing a show in the restauran ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Bill Murray Got Taken Down A Peg By Andy Warhol At The Best Party He Ever Crashed
Huffington Post - over 1 year
In his Reddit AMA on Wednesday, longtime Hollywood insider Bill Murray shared some stories about the role that got away (in Peter Weir's "The Year of Living Dangerously"), working with Wes Anderson ("he loves to eat") and why he'd want to be on "Flavor of Love," Flavor Flav's short-lived reality series ("really nutty"). But this one story takes the cake. In the '70s, Murray wrote, he crashed an event "called the subway party," thrown for the premiere of "Tommy," a musical film starring Ann-Margret, Oliver Reed and The Who's Roger Daltrey. Murray explained: It was Gilda Radner, Belushi, Harold Ramis, Joe Flaherty, Brian Doyle Murray, and we were all plus 1, probably. It was biggest party ever in NYC at the time. You couldn't get into this party. It was an inner circle thing. It was at an enclosed subway stop, it was a roar. It was a scream. If you made an airport movie with everyone on the plane is a celebrity, it was like that times 10. We were doing a show in the restauran ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Harold Ramis' Glencoe mansion sells for $2.3 million
Chicago Times - over 1 year
The widow of comedy director, actor and writer Harold Ramis on Tuesday sold the couple's longtime six-bedroom, 8,357-square-foot mansion in Glencoe for $2.3 million. A Chicago native known for co-writing the movies "Stripes," "National Lampoon's Animal House" and "Ghostbusters" and both writing...
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
Harold Ramis' Glencoe mansion for sale at $2.599 million
Chicago Times - over 1 year
The widow of comedy director, actor and writer Harold Ramis last week placed the couple's six-bedroom, 8,357-square-foot mansion in Glencoe on the market for $2.599 million.
Article Link:
Chicago Times article
TV Ghost Hunter Amy Bruni Reacts to All-female 'Ghostbusters' Cast
Huffington Post - about 2 years
In a paranormal event to rival the Philadelphia mass turbulence of 1947, and the Gozer the Gozerian attack on New York City in 1984, a new Ghostbusters film is arriving in theaters on July 22, 2016. And this time, the bustin' will come courtesy of a cast of four women comedians. After an incredibly long development process, director Paul Feig confirmed the date and appeared to announce his cast of previous collaborators Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids, The Heat), Kristen Wiig (Bridesmaids) and Saturday Night Live castmates stars Kate McKinnon and Leslie Jones. Although The Hollywood Reporter says the negotiations are "ongoing," this looks like a pretty done deal. Interestingly enough, both Wiig and McCarthy were two actors that original ghostbuster Bill Murray suggested for the job when asked by the Toronto Star last September (where he also suggested they all-female cast would have better outfits). But if the female cast gets a thumbs-up from a ghostbuster, how does the idea ...
Article Link:
Huffington Post article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Harold Ramis
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2014
    Age 69
    He died of complications of the disease on February 24, 2014 at his home on Chicago's North Shore, at age 69.
    More Details Hide Details A private funeral was held for him two days later with family, friends, and several collaborators in attendance including Dan Aykroyd, Chevy Chase, Eugene Levy, Dave Thomas, David Pasquesi, Andrew Alexander, and the widows of John Belushi and Bernard Sahlins. He is buried at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights. Upon his death, President Barack Obama released a statement on Ramis, saying "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 ended his statement by saying he hoped Ramis "received total consciousness", in reference to a line from Caddyshack. Longtime collaborator Bill Murray gave tribute to Ramis at the 86th Academy Awards.
  • 2011
    Age 66
    After relearning to walk he suffered a relapse of the disease in late 2011.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2010
    Age 65
    In May 2010, Ramis contracted an infection that resulted in complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis and lost the ability to walk.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 2009
    Age 64
    Ramis said in 2009 he planned to make a third Ghostbusters film for release either in mid-2011 or for Christmas 2012.
    More Details Hide Details The film was eventually made and released in 2016. In this film a bronze bust can be seen of Ramis when Erin Gilbert leaves her office at Columbia University.
  • FIFTIES
  • 2004
    Age 59
    In 2004, Ramis's typical directing fee was $5 million.
    More Details Hide Details In an interview in the documentary American Storytellers, Ramis said he hoped to make a film about Emma Goldman (even pitching Disney with the idea of having Bette Midler star) but that none of the movie studios were interested and that it would have been difficult to raise the funding.
    In 2004, Ramis turned down the opportunity to direct the Bernie Mac-Ashton Kutcher film Guess Who, then under the working title "The Dinner Party", because he considered it poorly written.
    More Details Hide Details That same year, he began filming the low-budget The Ice Harvest, "his first attempt to make a comic film noir". Ramis spent six weeks trying to get the film greenlit because he had difficulty reaching an agreement about stars John Cusack's and Billy Bob Thornton's salaries. The film received mixed reviews.
  • FORTIES
  • 1989
    Age 44
    In 1989 Ramis married Erica Mann, daughter of director Daniel Mann and actress Mary Kathleen Williams.
    More Details Hide Details Together they had two sons, Julian Arthur and Daniel Hayes. Although Ramis maintained non-supernatural Humanist beliefs, Erica's Buddhist upbringing was to be a huge influence on his philosophies for the rest of his life, and he became friends with the Dalai Lama. Ramis was a Chicago Cubs fan and attended games every year to conduct the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field. His pastimes included fencing, ritual drumming, acoustic guitar, and making hats from felted fleece; he taught himself skiing by watching skiers on television.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1984
    Age 39
    Ramis and Plotkin separated in 1984 and later divorced.
    More Details Hide Details
    In 1984, Ramis collaborated with Dan Aykroyd on the screenplay for Ghostbusters, which became one of the biggest comedy hits of all time, in which he also starred as Dr. Egon Spengler, a role he reprised for the 1989 sequel, Ghostbusters II (which he also co-wrote with Aykroyd).
    More Details Hide Details His later film Groundhog Day has been called his "masterpiece". His films have been noted for attacking "the smugness of institutional life... with an impish good will that is unmistakably American". They are also noted for "Ramis's signature tongue-in-cheek pep talks”. Sloppiness and improv were also important aspects of his work. Ramis frequently depicted the qualities of "anger, curiosity, laziness, and woolly idealism" in "a hyper-articulate voice". Ramis also occasionally acted in supporting roles in acclaimed films that he did not write or direct such as James L. Brooks's Academy Award-winning As Good as It Gets (1997) and Judd Apatow's hit comedy Knocked Up (2007).
  • 1982
    Age 37
    In 1982, Ramis was attached to direct the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book A Confederacy of Dunces by John Kennedy Toole.
    More Details Hide Details The film was to star John Belushi and Richard Pryor, but the project was aborted.
  • TWENTIES
  • 1974
    Age 29
    In 1974, Belushi brought Ramis and other Second City performers, including Ramis' frequent future collaborator Bill Murray, to New York City to work on The National Lampoon Radio Hour.
    More Details Hide Details During this time, Ramis, Belushi, Murray, Joe Flaherty, Christopher Guest, and Gilda Radner starred in the revue The National Lampoon Show, the successor to National Lampoon's Lemmings. Later, Ramis became a performer on, and head writer of, the late-night sketch-comedy television series SCTV during its first three years (1976–1979). He was soon offered work as a writer at Saturday Night Live but chose to continue with SCTV. Characterizations by Ramis on SCTV include corrupt Dialing for Dollars host/SCTV station manager Maurice "Moe" Green, amiable cop Officer Friendly, exercise guru Swami Bananananda, board chairman Allan "Crazy Legs" Hirschman and home dentist Mort Finkel. His celebrity impressions on SCTV included Kenneth Clark and Leonard Nimoy. In 1984, Ramis executive produced a music/comedy/variety television show called The Top. The Producer was Paul Flattery and the Director was David Jove. Ramis got involved after the mysterious death of his friend Peter Ivers who had hosted Jove's underground show "New Wave Theater." He called Jove and offered to help. Flattery and Jove pitched him the idea for "The Top," and Ramis was instrumental in getting it on the air.
  • 1972
    Age 27
    After leaving Second City for a time and returning in 1972, having been replaced in the main cast by John Belushi, Ramis worked his way back as Belushi's deadpan foil.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1968
    Age 23
    Following his work in St. Louis, Ramis returned to Chicago, where by 1968, he was a substitute teacher at schools serving the inner-city Robert Taylor Homes.
    More Details Hide Details He also became associated with the guerrilla television collective TVTV, headed by his college friend Michael Shamberg, and wrote freelance for the Chicago Daily News. "Michael Shamberg, right out of college, had started freelancing for newspapers and got on as a stringer for a local paper, and I thought, 'Well, if Michael can do that, I can do that.' I wrote a spec piece and submitted it to the Chicago Daily News, the Arts & Leisure section, and they started giving me assignments for entertainment features." Additionally, Ramis had begun studying and performing with Chicago's Second City improvisational comedy troupe. Ramis' newspaper writing led to his becoming joke editor at Playboy magazine. "I called... just cold and said I had written several pieces freelance and did they have any openings. And they happened to have their entry-level job, party jokes editor, open. He liked my stuff and he gave me a stack of jokes that readers had sent in and asked me to rewrite them. I had been in Second City in the workshops already and Michael Shamberg and I had written comedy shows in college". Ramis was eventually promoted to associate editor.
  • 1967
    Age 22
    Ramis was married twice and was the father of three children. On July 2, 1967, he married San Francisco artist Anne Plotkin, with whom he had a daughter, Violet.
    More Details Hide Details Actor and Ghostbusters co-star Bill Murray is Violet's godfather.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1958
    Age 13
    He graduated from Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School in June 1958 and Nicholas Senn High School in 1962, both Chicago public schools, and in 1966 from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, where he was a member of the Alpha Xi chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity.
    More Details Hide Details Afterward, Ramis worked in a mental institution in St. Louis for seven months. He later said of his time working there that it Ramis began writing parodic plays in college, saying years later, "In my heart, I felt I was a combination of Groucho and Harpo Marx, of Groucho using his wit as a weapon against the upper classes, and of Harpo's antic charm and the fact that he was oddly sexy—he grabs women, pulls their skirts off, and gets away with it". He avoided the Vietnam War military draft by taking methamphetamine to fail his draft physical.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1944
    Born
    Ramis was born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Ruth (née Cokee) and Nathan Ramis, who owned the Ace Food & Liquor Mart on the city's far North Side.
    More Details Hide Details Ramis had a Jewish upbringing. In his adult life, he did not practice any religion.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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