Friday, May 30, 2014

In Memory of Harold Ramis (1944-2014)

A tribute to Harold Ramis, sending our wholehearted thoughts ... on Twitpic
Harold Ramis tribute by Dan Schoening
We lost a Ghostbuster not long ago. It was inevitable that eventually one of them would pass away sooner or later but I never thought it would be this soon. I was totally caught off guard by this bad news.

Harold Ramis died at the age of 69 on February 24th.

Most of us were unaware that Ramis  had been suffering from a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, since 2010.

Ghostbusters remains one of my favourite movies of all time and Ramis' character, Egon Spengler, is one that I identified with and admired.

However, Ramis was so much more than just the actor who portrayed the bespectacled parapsychologist in the 1984 blockbuster comedy. As an actor, writer and director he was involved and/or responsible for many of the biggest and most well-loved comedies of all time.

He co-wrote and acted in Ghostbusters and Stripes. He wrote and directed Caddyshack, National Lampoon's Vacation and Groundhog Day. He was a co-writer for National Lampoon's Animal House and Meatballs. Ramis wrote intelligent comedies, something that is far too uncommon these days having given way to more raunchy and sophomoric humour. He wasn't above dipping his toe in the latter but he was able to rise to a level that not many other comedy writers could achieve.

He was also head writer and a performer on the hilarious Canadian comedy TV show, SCTV, in which he played one of my favourite characters, Moe Green, who was the host of Dialing for Dollars and Feedback.

Here's something I had not known until now. In addition to being a co-writer on the film, Harold Ramis was the uncredited voice of Marty Moose, the mascot of Wally World in Vacation.

Speaking of voice work, he also voiced Zeke, a green, stoner alien in the animated anthology, Heavy Metal.

I was disappointed to learn that Ramis and Bill Murray had a falling out while making Groundhog Day and did not speak to each other until Murray visited Ramis just before his death. I'm glad they could get closure but it shouldn't take someone being on their death bed as a catalyst.

Finally, this may seem like ironic now or in poor taste but you have to realize that even Ramis had to be aware that he too would unfortunately die one day. This is just another example of Harold's dry wit that I enjoyed. Goodbye, Harold.

If you'd like to read about Teen Wolf's Kristina Hagerty's fond memory of meeting Harold Ramis, click here for her interview.

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