RIP Harold Ramis
Iconic comedy actor/writer/director Harold Ramis has died due to complications related to auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis. He was 69 years old. Ramis had a hand in numerous comedy films starting in the late 1970s, including Animal House (writer), Caddyshack (writer/director), Stripes (costar/writer), National Lampoon’s Vacation (director), Ghostbusters (costar/writer), Groundhog Day (actor/writer/director), and Analyze This (writer/director).
In recent years, movie audiences have been more familiar with Ramis as an actor appearing in projects opposite the likes of Jack Black, Seth Rogen, and John C. Reilly. Ramis had an extended cameo in Orange County as a university admissions director who is accidentally administered esctasy to hilarious effect. Then Judd Apatow tapped Ramis for two acting gigs in 2007, appearing as Seth Rogen’s sympathetic father in Knocked Up and later as a musical agent in Walk Hard.
Ramis’ last writing/directing project was 2009’s historical comedy Year One with Jack Black and Michael Cera. Produced by Judd Apatow, the film was a historically inaccurate biblical epic that also featured Ramis himself playing Adam. The film was cowritten by Office scribes Lee Eisenberg and Gene Stupnitsky and was a mix of satire and low-brow humor. The film wasn’t well received by critics or audiences, though in our review we called it a fun ride.
A few weeks ago, Stripes was airing on cable, so I watched the film with my 12 year old son. I can tell you that my son had every opportunity to walk away but that he stayed glued to the film and very much enjoyed it. The film features Ramis in my favorite acting role as the straight comedic foil for Bill Murray’s irreverent character.