Legendary movie producer and director Ivan Reitman who worked on iconic comedies such as “Animal House” and “Ghostbusters,” has died at the age of 75. Reitman died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Montecito, California, his family said in a statement on Sunday night. The Canadian director has been at the helm of hit movies and also served as producer for such films as Animal House (1978), Beethoven (1992), Space Jam (1996), and Private Parts (1997). Reitman was born in Komárno, Czechoslovakia, on October 27, 1946, the son of Klara and Ladislav “Leslie” Reitman. Both of Reitman’s parents were Hungarian Jews; his mother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp and his father was an underground resistance fighter.
His family came to Canada as refugees when Reitman was four years old. Reitman’s first producing job was with the then-new station CITY-TV in Toronto. In Toronto, he produced the stage production Spellbound (1973) which evolved into Broadway production The Magic Show. Reitman’s first commercial film ventures were as producer of two films for director David Cronenberg, Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977). His big break came when he produced National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978 and directed Meatballs in 1979. From there, he directed and produced a number of comedies including Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Legal Eagles (1986), Twins (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Dave (1993), Junior (1994), Six Days, Seven Nights (1998), Evolution (2001), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), and No Strings Attached (2011).
In the early 1990s, Reitman began to direct fewer films, but increased his role as a producer and executive producer through his company, Northern Lights Entertainment.He helped to produce the animated film Heavy Metal (1981), as well as the live-action films Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), Beethoven (1992), Beethoven’s 2nd (1993), Space Jam (1996), Howard Stern’s film Private Parts (1997), Road Trip (2000), Old School (2003), EuroTrip (2004) and Trailer Park Boys: The Movie (2006). n 2007, Reitman was inducted into Canada’s Walk of Fame. He next produced the comedy I Love You, Man (2009), starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Also in 2009, he produced the Academy Award-nominated film, Up in the Air, directed by his son Jason Reitman.
In his final decade, Reitman also co-produced the biographical film Hitchcock, released on November 23, 2012, directed the 2014 sports drama Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner, and served as executive producer on 2021’s Space Jam: A New Legacy as he had done for the first film. In mid-January 2019, news of a new Ghostbusters film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, came through with Ivan’s son Jason Reitman taking over as co-writer and director. Ivan remained producer, and stood in for Ramis as Egon Spengler using digital makeup. The film was released on November 19, 2021, and was his final film in his lifetime. He is survived by his son Jason Reitman, wife Geneviève Deloir, and two daughter Catherine Reitman, an actress, producer and writer, who is three years younger, and Caroline, a nurse.