The comedy world lost a very important player on Monday with the death of Harold Ramis — best known for his work on films like "Ghostbusters," "Stripes," "Groundhog Day," and "Caddyshack.
Ramis was not only colleagues with some of the greats — the late John Belushi, Bill Murray, and Billy Crystal — but he also heavily influenced an entire new crop of funny filmmakers, including Judd Apatow, Peter Farrelly, and Jake Kasdan.
He also apparently influenced politicians. In a statement released by the White House this morning, fellow Chicagoan President Barack Obama had this say:
“Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City. When we watched his movies – from ‘Animal House’ and ‘Caddyshack’ to ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ – we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.”
[Photos: Harold Ramis's Most Memorable Movies]
Obama was far from the only public figure to reflect on Ramis's passing.
"Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis," his "Ghostbusters" co-star Dan Aykroyd wrote on Facebook. "May he now get the answers he was always seeking." Bill Murray, a frequent collaborator of Ramis's, said in a statement, "He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him."
"Ghostbusters" director Ivan Reitman also released a statement that read, in part: "The world has lost a wonderful, truly original, comedy voice... He possessed the most agile mind I’ve ever witnessed." And Apatow wrote in a statement on Monday, "Harold Ramis made almost every movie which made me want to become a comedy director."
Needless to say, the Twitterverse has been filled with heavy-hearted Hollywood reactions to today's sad news.
[Related: 'Ghostbusters' Actor Harold Ramis Dies at 69]
Jack Black and Olivia Wilde, who both starred in Ramis' final film, "Year One," honored the memory of their late writer-director on Monday. "Harold was a force of good in the universe. So funny, sweet and thoughtful," Black said in a statement. "He will be deeply missed." Wilde tweeted:
The depth of Ramis' influence and loss is felt as online tributes continue to stream in.
Of course, Ramis's colleagues weren't the only ones memorializing the man who made Egon Spengler and Russell Ziskey such unforgettable screen gems. Some members of his adoring public opted for an appropriately less dour route when tweeting about the fallen icon.
What will you most remember about Harold Ramis's work?
- Harold Ramis