A multitalented performer who helped create some of the most iconic comedies of the past four decades, Harold Ramis died Monday at the age of 69.
As a star, Ramis appeared on SCTV in the late 1970s, then played opposite Bill Murray in Stripes, Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II before settling into a comfortable groove as a supporting player. His credits since 2000 include Orange County, Knocked Up, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story and Year One.
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He wrote many of the projects in which he starred, including at SCTV, where he was head writer in 1976, as well as Stripes, both Ghostbuster films, and Year One. Meanwhile as director, he helmed Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day (which he also wrote), Analyze This and That (both of which he scripted), and again, Year One.
Ramis’ humor was manic, literate and irreverent, frequently pitting his protagonists against authority figures, and virtually defined the “slobs versus the snobs” mentality that dominated comedy set-ups for decades. His sense of timing as a filmmaker was impeccable, sorting through reams of hilarious dialogue, performed beautifully, and finding the punch line that would punctuate the moment.
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And even though he may rightfully be associated with Egon, the deadpan nerd he played in Ghostbusters, he was an indisputably avuncular presence on screen, ingratiating in a way that has made audiences feel comfortable.
Watch College Humor to see a variety of comedians and performers who were inspired and influenced by Ramis, on FilmOn:
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