Comedy actor and director Harold Ramis, best known for films such as “Ghostbusters,” “Groundhog Day” and “Caddyshack,” died at his home in Chicago at the age of 69 of complications from a rare vascular disease as stated by his agent on Monday. Ramis, who had suffered from the rare illness since 2010, passed away peacefully on Monday morning, surrounded by family members. Ramis is perhaps best known for his role as Dr. Egon Spengler in the Ivan Reitman cult comedy Ghostbusters I & II with Bill Murray, Dan Akroyd & Ernie Hudson. Ramis & Akroyd co-wrote the two movies which are icons of the 80s and still extremely popular to this day.
The Chicago born & raised Ramis had a Jewish upbringing, although in his adult life Ramis did not practice any religion. After graduation from university he worked for several months in a mental institution, which he said helped him in his career and interacting with actors. He wrote parody plays while in college and was a substitute teacher before writing freelance for the Chicago Daily News. Additionally, he had begun studying and performing with Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe and his newspaper writing led to his becoming joke editor at Playboy. Post his stint at SCTV he moved onto film and co-wrote National lampoons Animal House, directed Cadyshack, co-wrote /acted/directed National Lampoon’s Vacation before Ghostbusters. Among other films he directed are Groundhog Day, Multiplicity, Bedazzaled, Analyze This , Analyze That & Year One.
Ramis received The American Comedy Award, the British Comedy Awards and a BAFTA award for screenwriting. He is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, his sons Julian and Daniel, a daughter Violet and two grandchildren.