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Harold Ramis Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trade Mark (3)  | Trivia (26)  | Personal Quotes (27)

Overview (4)

Born in Chicago, Illinois, USA
Died in Chicago, Illinois, USA  (complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis)
Birth NameHarold Allen Ramis
Height 6' 2" (1.88 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois, Harold Allen Ramis got his start in comedy as Playboy magazine's joke editor and reviewer. In 1969, he joined Chicago's Second City's Improvisational Theatre Troupe before moving to New York to help write and perform in "The National Lampoon Show" with other Second City graduates including John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray. By 1976, he was head writer and a regular performer on the top Canadian comedy series SCTV (1976). His Hollywood debut came when he collaborated on the script for National Lampoon's National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) which was produced by Ivan Reitman. After that, he worked as writer with Ivan as producer on Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989) and acted in the latter three. Harold Ramis died on February 24, 2014 at age 69 from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: tonyman5

Spouse (2)

Erica Mann (7 May 1989 - 24 February 2014) ( his death) ( 2 children)
Anne Ramis (2 July 1967 - 27 March 1984) ( divorced) ( 1 child)

Trade Mark (3)

Deep resonant voice
Frequently cast himself in small roles
Frequently cast fellow Second City alumnus Bill Murray

Trivia (26)

Was a member of the Board of National Neurofibromatosis Foundation.
Was a member of the Board of Trustees of Washington University in St. Louis.
Attended and graduated from Nicholas Senn High School in Chicago, Illinois (1962).
Attended and graduated from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri (1966). He later received an honorary degree (Doctor of Arts) from the university (1993).
Was a former active member of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri.
Once a mental ward orderly before finding work as a joke writer for Playboy magazine.
Teamed with John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray on "The National Lampoon Show" but, unlike the others, was not asked by Lorne Michaels to join Saturday Night Live (1975). Harold went to SCTV (1976) instead.
Sketch comedian best known for his character Moe Green on SCTV (1976).
Had three children: daughter Violet Ramis (born in 1977), with ex-wife Anne Ramis, and sons Julian Arthur Ramis (born on May 10, 1990) and Daniel Ramis (Daniel Hayes Ramis) (born on August 10, 1994), with wife Erica Mann.
The proton packs worn in Ghostbusters (1984) were much heavier than they looked, and some were heavier than others depending on what a scene demanded while filming. According to director Ivan Reitman, none of the actors enjoyed wearing the packs, but Harold complained the least (Reitman would not say which actor complained the most).
Once worked at a public school in Chicago, Illinois (1968). Attempted graduate school for a week, which did not pan out.
When he was doing his audition for The Second City, it was him performing a sketch to a full house.
Best remembered by fans of all ages as Dr. Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (1984) and Ghostbusters II (1989).
Said in an interview that his working relationship with actor Bill Murray ended while filming Groundhog Day (1993) due to differing views on what the film should be about (Murray wanted it to be more philosophical, Ramis wanted it to be a comedy). Ramis also cites that Murray's real life personal problems at the time (specifically the ending of his first marriage) was having a ripple effect on his behavior at work as another factor in the unfortunate ending of their working relationship.
Wrote four of the American Film Institute's 100 Funniest Movies: Ghostbusters (1984) at #28, Groundhog Day (1993) at #34, National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) at #36 and Caddyshack (1980) at #71. Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981) and Back to School (1986) were also nominated, but did not make the list.
Had appeared with Bill Murray in four films: Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989) and Groundhog Day (1993).
His paternal grandparents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants and his maternal grandparents were Polish Jews.
Following his death, he was interred at Shalom Memorial Park in Arlington Heights, Cook County, Illinois.
He was awarded a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame at 6338 Delmar Boulevard in St. Louis, Illinois on May 16, 2004.
After not speaking to each other for a number of years, Bill Murray, reportedly visited Ramis before his death and they both made their peace with each other.
The Writers Guild of America posthumously honored him with their lifetime achievement award, the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement (2015).
Two years after his death, The Second City founded the Harold Ramis Film School in his honor, the first film school to focus solely on film comedy (2016).
Biological father of Mollie Heckerling with Amy Heckerling, though the father in her life was Neal Israel. This "family secret" was revealed in "Ghostbuster's Daughter", a book about Harold's life written by his other daughter Violet Ramis.
He was first hired to write a draft for 1941 (1979), but was fired due to creative differences between John Milius and Steven Spielberg.
Had no involvement with National Lampoon's European Vacation (1985), as he was busy working on Ghostbusters (1984).
He has written three films that have been selected for the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically or aesthetically" significant: National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), Ghostbusters (1984) and Groundhog Day (1993). He has also directed one film that is in the registry: Groundhog Day.

Personal Quotes (27)

I never work just to work. It's some combination of laziness and self-respect.
[Remarks to the New York Times on the ecumenical popularity of Groundhog Day (1993)] At first, I would get mail saying, "Oh, you must be a Christian because the movie so beautifully expresses Christian belief". Then, rabbis started calling from all over, saying they were preaching the film as their next sermon. And the Buddhists! Well, I knew they loved it because my mother-in-law has lived in a Buddhist meditation centre for 30 years and my wife lived there for five years.
[on whether he and Bill Murray would consider doing a third Ghostbusters movie] My attitude is generally like Bill's old attitude -- there's no point unless it has some interesting quality or something to say about the subject. Personally, I don't rule it out. I'm skeptical, but maybe it'll work.
Everything we see has some hidden message. A lot of awful messages are coming in under the radar - subliminal consumer messages, all kinds of politically incorrect messages.
Chicago still remains a Mecca of the Midwest - people from both coasts are kind of amazed how good life is in Chicago, and what a good culture we've got. You can have a pretty wonderful artistic life and never leave Chicago.
I'm at my best when I'm working with really talented people, and I'm there to gently suggest or guide or inspire or contribute whatever I can to their effort. It's not like I'm gonna tell Robert De Niro how to act - but I could provide him with useful anecdotal material from my own life or other people I've known, or actual psychological information, or insights into his character. The technique's up to him. But, there are ways to gently urge an actor to pick up the pace or slow it down or focus more, to go bigger or smaller. Some actors are very open right at the beginning - they say, "You only need four words with me: Bigger, smaller, faster, slower.".
Well, I never made big films to make big films; the scale's been appropriate to the content.
Well, for me, it's the relationship between comedy and life - that's the edge I live on, and maybe it's my protection against looking at the tragedy of it all. It's seeing life in balance. Comedy and tragedy co-exist. You can't have one without the other. I'm of the school that anything can be funny, if seen from a comedic point of view.
[on the death of his friend Douglas Kenney in 1980] Doug probably fell while he was looking for a place to jump.
It's hard for winners to do comedy. Comedy is inherently subversive. We represent the underdog as comedy usually speaks for the lower classes. We attack the winners.
The best comedy touches something that's timeless and universal in people. When it's right, those things last.
[on directing Robin Williams and Eugene Levy in Club Paradise (1986)] I'd say, "Robin, could you play that scene faster?" And he would say, "Faster isn't a direction." So I'd say, "Your character is feeling a sense of urgency right now." By contrast, I went to Gene and said, "You did that scene in a minute-twenty. Could you do it in a minute?" And he said, "Sure".
At SCTV (1976), we were virtually self-directed. Whoever wrote the piece pretty much determined how the piece was going to play. We directed each other. Joe Flaherty kind of appointed himself my director. He would tell me stuff like "Open your eyes real big".
I'd like to think I'd never do a gratuitous fart joke.
No matter what I have to say, I'm still trying to say it in comedic form.
I never read Playboy before I started working there and stopped reading it the day I quit.
How one handles success or failure is determined by their early childhood.
Whenever a critic mentions the salary of an actor, I'm thinking, He's not talking about the movie.
As much as we'd like to believe that our work is great and that we're infallible, we're not. Hollywood movies are made for the audience. These are not small European art films we're making.
You probably can't name more than a handful of comedies that would qualify for Best Picture. I can think of a lot of comedy screenplays; Woody Allen has had numerous nominations for his screenplays. But most comedies are calculated. They tend to pander. They're not about anything important.
I can barely watch Caddyshack (1980). All I see are a bunch of compromises and things that could have been better. Like, it bothers me that nobody except Michael O'Keefe can swing a golf club. A movie about golf with the worst bunch of golf swings you've ever seen! It doesn't bother golfers, though.
With both Caddyshack (1980) and National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), it's not like the subjects were serious enough that they engaged my interest for another round. I love the characters, and the actors were great, but I didn't see the need to make another Vacation movie.
My characters aren't losers. They're rebels. They win by their refusal to play by everyone else's rules.
Multiplicity (1996) was a movie that tested really well. People seeing the movie really liked it, but then the studio couldn't market it. We opened on a weekend with nine other films.
I really only worked for about a month on Meatballs (1979). What happened was that Ivan Reitman figured out that studios wanted to meet everybody involved with National Lampoon's Animal House (1978) except the producer. So he thought he'd better start directing.
Analyze This (1999) is a good movie because Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal are really good. But without the material to put on the play, of course, they couldn't be good. For me, it starts with the writing. I always think that the writer is doing the vast majority of the director's work, in a sense.
I had a lot of fun working with John Candy. We had a pretty good rapport.

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