Author Topic: Actor Writer Director Harold Ramis of Caddyshack Ghostbusters Groundhog Day Dies  (Read 14451 times)

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.cnn.com/2014/02/24/showbiz/movies/obit-harold-ramis/



Harold Ramis
of 'Ghostbusters,' 'Groundhog Day' fame dies

By Todd Leopold, CNN
updated 2:34 PM EST, Mon February 24, 2014








 




(CNN) -- Harold Ramis, the actor, writer and director whose films include "Stripes," "Ghostbusters," "Groundhog Day" and "Analyze This," has died. He was 69.

His death was caused by complications related to autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition Ramis battled for four years, according to United Talent Agency, which represented Ramis for many years.

Ramis died Monday morning in his Chicago-area home, the agency said.

[His rare disease involved a swelling of the blood vessels and the report adds that his health issues began in 2010. His condition was so bad in the past, the actor/writer/director had to relearn to walk.

"His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him," read a press release from his agency.

Ramis was a Chicago native and earned a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis, MO. He got his start in the late 1960's at Chicago's Second City theater troupe.

His big break came when he penned "National Lampoon's Animal House" in 1978. His directorial debut came in 1980 with "Caddyshack." His latest work was for a 2009 movie "Year One," in which he wrote, directed and was featured in alongside Jack Black and Olivia Wilde. His "Ghostbusters" co-star, Dan Aykroyd, also told ABC News last spring that "Ghostbusters 3" could film this year, and that Ramis was "in on it."

http://abcnews.go.com/Entertainment/ghostbusters-star-writer-harold-ramis-dies-69/story?id=22651174]

For more than 40 years, Ramis was a leading figure in comedy. A veteran of the Second City troupe in his hometown of Chicago, he was a writer for "SCTV" and wrote or co-wrote the scripts for "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978), "Caddyshack" (1980), "Stripes" (1981), "Ghostbusters" (1984), "Groundhog Day" (1993) and "Analyze This" (1999).

The films often featured members of his generation of comedy talents -- veterans of the National Lampoon's recordings, "Saturday Night Live" and "Second City TV" -- most notably Ramis' old comedy colleague and fellow Chicagoan Bill Murray.

His directing credits include "Caddyshack," "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), "Groundhog Day," "Analyze This" and -- in a change from his usual comedies -- the dark 2005 film "The Ice Harvest." He occasionally acted as well, most notably playing Murray's friend in "Stripes," Dr. Egon Spengler in "Ghostbusters" and a doctor in "As Good as It Gets" (1997).

Ramis' films were some of the most influential -- and highest-grossing -- comedies of recent decades. "Animal House" remains a model for knockabout laughs and gross-out moments. "Caddyshack" is eminently quotable. "Ghostbusters" was the second-biggest box office hit of 1984, just behind "Beverly Hills Cop."

But though the movies were full of silly moments, Ramis often tried to tap into larger themes. Perhaps most successful was "Groundhog Day" in which Bill Murray's cynical weatherman is forced to relive the same day over and over again until he finally comes to terms with his life. The film has been used as the subject of philosophical and religious discussions.

That intellectual bent didn't always go over well with studio bosses, Ramis observed.

In an interview with the Onion A.V. Club, he mentioned the studio for his 2009 film "Year One" was uncertain how to pitch it.

"When the studio said, 'Well, what is the movie about?' I said, 'The movie tracks the psycho-social development of civilization.' And they said, 'Uh, that's not going to be too good on a poster.' "

Ramis was also a mentor to several current comedy writers and directors, the Chicago Tribune noted in its obituary. Judd Apatow, a fan, cast him as Seth Rogen's father in "Knocked Up." Jake Kasdan put him in "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story" (which was co-produced and co-written by Apatow).

Ramis was usually a good-natured presence, playing understanding characters -- often doctors, of one sort or another. It was true to his personality, the late Second City founder Bernie Sahlins told the Chicago Tribune in 1999.

"He's the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self," Sahlins told the paper. "He's the same Harold he was 30 years ago. He's had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head in any way."

Indeed, Ramis always seemed to find a way to laugh.

Asked by The New York Times about the existential questions raised by "Groundhog Day" -- and competing interpretations of the film's meaning -- he mentioned that he didn't practice any religion himself.

''Although I am wearing meditation beads on my wrist,'' he noted. ''But that's because I'm on a Buddhist diet. They're supposed to remind me not to eat, but actually just get in the way when I'm cutting my steak.''

Ramis is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, three children (sons Julian and Daniel, daughter Violet) and two grandchildren.

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Online southendmd

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Very sad to hear, John. 

After a recent viewing of "Groundhog Day", I also watched an interview with Harold Ramis (one of the DVD extras).  He truly was both thoughtful and humble. 

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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For video, Chicago Tribune reporter Mark Caro reflects on the career of Harold Ramis, who passed away at the age of 69.
Click on:

http://www.chicagotribune.com/entertainment/chi-harold-ramis-dead-20140224,0,4983189,full.story




Harold Ramis
Chicago actor,
writer and director,
dead at 69

Best-known as an actor for 'Ghostbusters', 'Stripes',
writer/director for 'Caddyshack', 'Groundhog Day'


By Mark Caro, Tribune reporter
11:50 a.m. CST, February 24, 2014




Harold Ramis was one of Hollywood’s most successful comedy filmmakers when he moved his family from Los Angeles back to the Chicago area in 1996. His career was still thriving, with "Groundhog Day" acquiring almost instant classic status upon its 1993 release and 1984's "Ghostbusters" ranking among the highest-grossing comedies of all time, but the writer-director wanted to return to the city where he’d launched his career as a Second City performer.

"There's a pride in what I do that other people share because I'm local, which in L.A. is meaningless; no one's local," Ramis said upon the launch of the first movie he directed after his move, the 1999 mobster-in-therapy comedy "Analyze This," another hit. "It's a good thing. I feel like I represent the city in a certain way."

Ramis, a longtime North Shore resident, was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, his wife Erica Mann Ramis said. He was 69.

Ramis' serious health struggles began in May 2010 with an infection that led to complications related to the autoimmune disease, his wife said. Ramis had to relearn to walk but suffered a relapse of the vasculitis in late 2011, said Laurel Ward, vice president of development at Ramis' Ocean Pictures production company.

Ramis leaves behind a formidable body of work, with writing credits on such enduring comedies as "National Lampoon's Animal House" (which upon its 1978 release catapulted the film career of John Belushi, with whom Ramis acted at Second City), "Stripes" (1981) and "Ghostbusters" (in which Ramis also co-starred) plus such directing efforts as "Caddyshack" (1980), "National Lampoon's Vacation" (1983), "Groundhog Day" and "Analyze This."

Previously he was the first head writer (and a performer) on Second City's groundbreaking television series "Second City Television (SCTV)" (1976-79). More recently he directed episodes of NBC’s "The Office."

Ramis' comedies were often wild, silly and tilting toward anarchy, but they also were cerebral and iconoclastic, with the filmmaker heeding the Second City edict to work at the top of one's intelligence. This combination of smart and gut-bustingly funny led a generation of comedic actors and filmmakers — including Judd Apatow ("The 40 Year Old Virgin," "Knocked Up," Jay Roach ("Meet the Parents," the "Austin Powers" movies), Peter Farrelly ("There's Something About Mary," "Dumb and Dumber"), Jake Kasdan ("Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story," "Orange County," both of which featured Ramis in small roles) and Adam Sandler (who starred in his own wacky golf comedy, "Happy Gilmore") — to cite him as a key inspiration.

“When I was 15, I interviewed Harold for my high school radio station, and he was the person that I wanted to be when I was growing up," said Apatow, who later would cast Ramis as Seth Rogen’s father in "Knocked Up" and would produce Ramis' final movie, "Year One" (2009). "His work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy. We grew up on 'Second City TV' and 'Ghostbusters,' 'Vacation,' 'Animal House,' 'Stripes,' 'Meatballs' (which Ramis co-wrote); he literally made every single one of our favorite movies."

Ramis also left behind a reputation as a mensch and all-around good guy.

"He's the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self," the late Second City founder Bernie Sahlins, who began working with Ramis in 1969, said of him in 1999. "He's the same Harold he was 30 years ago. He's had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head in any way."

Laurel Ward, vice president of development for Ramis' Ocean Pictures production company, called him "the world's best mentor." She recalled that when she first began working for him 15 years ago as his assistant, he had to be in California for a month, and he told her that although he didn't need an assistant out there, she should go anyway because it would be a good experience for her, and he'd make sure her expenses were covered.

"He just did it for me," she said. "He loved teaching people. He loved helping people. He loved seeing people succeed."

The son of Ruth and Nathan Ramis, who owned Ace Food & Liquor Mart on the West Side before moving the store and family to Rogers Park, Ramis graduated from Senn High School and Washington University in St. Louis. For his first professional writing gig, he contributed freelance arts stories to the Chicago Daily News in the mid-1960s. He also wrote and edited Playboy magazine’s “Party Jokes” before and during his Second City days.

When, after some time off, he returned to Second City in 1972 to act alongside a relative newcomer in the cast, Ramis said he came to a major realization.

“The moment I knew I wouldn't be any huge comedy star was when I got on stage with John Belushi for the first time," he said in a 1999 Tribune interview. "When I saw how far he was willing to go to get a laugh or to make a point on stage, the language he would use, how physical he was, throwing himself literally off the stage, taking big falls, strangling other actors, I thought: I'm never going to be this big. How could I ever get enough attention on a stage with guys like this?

"I stopped being the zany. I let John be the zany. I learned that my thing was lobbing in great lines here and there, which would score big and keep me there on the stage."

With his round glasses lending a professorial air, Ramis would become the calm center of storms brewed by fellow actors, playing the bushy-haired, low-key wisecracker to Bill Murray's troublemaker in "Stripes" and being the most scientific-minded "Ghostbuster." Later roles included the sympathetic doctor of James L. Brooks' "As Good as It Gets" (1997) and the "Knocked Up" (2007) dad, whose dialogue, Apatow said, was almost all improvised.

Sahlins, who died last June, said he knew from the start that Ramis "would be an important factor in American comedy. He has all the skills and abilities to be funny and to write funny, but he also is a leader, a very nice guy. He was always looked up to, in Second City to being head writer at 'SCTV.' He was never separate from anybody. He was always one of the boys, but he was the best boy."

Ramis followed Belushi from Second City to New York City to work with him plus fellow Second City cast member [Bill] Murray (who would collaborate with Ramis on six movies) on "The National Lampoon Radio Hour." Those three plus Gilda Radner also performed in a National Lampoon stage show produced by Ivan Reitman, who went on to produce "National Lampoon's Animal House" and to direct such Ramis scripts as "Meatballs," "Stripes," "Ghostbusters" and "Ghostbusters II" (1989).

"I always thought he was a very talented writer who always had a very perceptive and intelligent point of view about the material," Reitman told the Tribune in 1999. "He managed to get the people to speak in a realistic way but still found something funny in their voices."

Apatow said he was captivated not just by the spirit of Ramis’ movies but also his frequent collaborations with a collective of funny people.

"We noticed this group of friends who were making comedy together — all the 'SCTV' people and ‘Saturday Night Live' people and National Lampoon people — and that seemed the most wonderful community you could ever be a part of,” said Apatow, who has developed his own group of regular collaborators. "In addition to wanting to be comics, we also wanted to make comedies with our friends."

As zany as Ramis' early comedies were, they rigorously pursued a theme close to the heart of someone who grew out of the 1960s counterculture: characters rebelling against institutions, be they authoritarian college administrators and pampered rich kids ("Animal House"), a stuffy golf club ("Caddyshack") or the military ("Stripes"). After the collapse of his first marriage and the flop of his 1986 comedy “Club Paradise” (with greedy developers as the institutional villain), the Jewish-raised Ramis immersed himself in Zen Buddhism.

"It's my shield and my armor in the work I do," he said. "It's to keep a cheerful, Zen-like detachment from everything."

Ramis’ later directorial efforts, starting with “Groundhog Day” and including "Stuart Saves His Family" (1995), "Multiplicity" (1996), "Analyze This" and his "Bedazzled" remake (2000), reflect a spiritual striving, exploring individuals' struggles with themselves more than outside forces.

Comparing his later to earlier comedies, Ramis told the Tribune : "The content's different, but it comes from the same place in me, which is to try to point people at some reality or truth."

He recalled that at the "Analyze This" junket, a writer told him his genre had become "goofy redemption comedy," to which Ramis responded, "OK, I'll take that."

Ramis had been living in Los Angeles since late the '70s before he returned to Chicago, basing his production company in downtown Highland Park.

"In L.A., you're much more aware of an artificial pressure, just that you're in a race of some kind," Ramis recalled one morning over a veggie egg-white omelet at the coffee shop downstairs from his office. "You know, if you're not moving forward, you're dead in the water, because everyone around you is scheming, planning and plotting to advance themselves, often at your expense.

"I've compared it to high school: Am I popular? Am I cool? Am I in? Who's the in crowd? How do I get into that party? These are not things I ever wanted to worry about. Here I'm so liberated from that."

After unsuccessfully lobbying Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro to film "Analyze This” in Chicago, Ramis finally got his wish to shoot a movie locally with the 2005 dark crime comedy "The Ice Harvest," which starred Evanston native John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton.

Until his illness Ramis was out around town a fair amount, whether cheering on the Cubs and leading the occasional "Take Me Out to the Ball Game" or attending theater or appearing at local organizations' fundraisers or collecting honors, such as an honorary Doctorate of Arts from Columbia College Chicago in 2001 and a lifetime achievement award from the Just for Laughs festival in 2009. And when Second City celebrated its 50th anniversary in December 2009, Ramis joined "SCTV" cast members Catherine O'Hara, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Joe Flaherty, Dave Thomas and Martin Short in a Mainstage set that proved to be the weekend's hottest ticket.

Ramis was quiet about his illness, but friends did visit, including brothers and Second City castmates Bill Murray, from whom he'd been estranged for years, and Brian Doyle-Murray, who appeared in seven Ramis movies.

"He was like the campfire that we all gathered around for light and warmth and knowledge," his adult daughter Violet Stiel said.

"And that's the truth," added Erica Ramis.

He is survived by Erica Mann Ramis, Stiel, sons Julian and Daniel Ramis and two grandchildren. Erica Ramis said a private service is planned for this week with a public memorial in Chicago to take place probably in May.

[email protected]

Twitter @MarkCaro





Copyright © 2014 Chicago Tribune Company, LLC
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Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.vulture.com/2014/02/harold-ramis-explains-groundhog-day-metaphors.html


Watch a Short Video in Which
Harold Ramis
Explains the Metaphors of
Groundhog Day
By Gilbert Cruz
Today at 1:03 PM




"Every day, someone says something to me about this movie." Groundhog Day, directed by Harold Ramis, who died this morning at the age of 69, has proven to be one of those movies that gets deeper the more you think about it. According to Ramis, the movie's concept of reliving the same day over and over and over again has been appropriated by everyone from Hasidic Jews to Zen Buddhists to Christians to psychotherapists. Watch the video below:




[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BkEUpymTanA&noredirect=1[/youtube]
Harold Ramis on the Metaphor of Groundhog Day
(Youtube may require you watch this on the Youtube site)
&noredirect=1


« Last Edit: August 09, 2017, 07:53:37 am by Aloysius J. Gleek »
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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6VF5P7qLaEQ[/youtube]



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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTVuSVG9DKA[/youtube]


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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1jvcNrjM_F4[/youtube]




[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=M628DuIEZ_o[/youtube]




[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Nt4JXKUv5MQ[/youtube]


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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CUWhN6j7OS4[/youtube]



[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SQLhORPoUJs[/youtube]




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[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9jiKYtyDg5c[/youtube]


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http://www.nytimes.com/2014/02/25/movies/harold-ramis-who-helped-redefine-what-makes-us-laugh-on-screen-dies-at-69.html



MOVIES
Harold Ramis
Who Helped Redefine
 What Makes Us Laugh
on Screen, Dies at 69


By DOUGLAS MARTIN
FEB. 24, 2014




Harold Ramis, a writer, director and actor whose sly but boisterous silliness helped catapult comedies like “Groundhog Day,” “Ghostbusters,” “Animal House” and “Caddyshack” to commercial and critical success, died on Monday in his Chicago-area home. He was 69.

The cause was complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease of the blood vessels, said Chris Day, a spokesman for United Talent Agency, which represented Mr. Ramis.

Mr. Ramis was a master at creating hilarious scenes and plotlines peopled by indelible characters, among them a groundskeeper obsessed with a gopher, fraternity brothers at war with a college dean and a jaded weatherman condemned to repeating Groundhog Day over and over.

In “Stripes,” a 1981 film about military life written by Mr. Ramis with Dan Goldberg and Len Blum, Bill Murray exhorts his fellow soldiers by yelling: “We’re not Watusi! We’re not Spartans — we’re Americans! That means that our forefathers were kicked out of every decent country in the world. We are the wretched refuse. We’re the underdog. We’re mutts. Here’s proof.”

He touches a soldier’s face. “His nose is cold.”

In 2004, The New Yorker  magazine quoted the screenwriter Dennis Klein as saying that Mr. Ramis rescued comedies from “their smooth, polite perfection” by offering a new, rough-hewn originality. The writer of the article, Tad Friend, compared Mr. Ramis’s impact on comedy to that of Elvis Presley on rock and Eminem on rap.

“More than anyone else,” Paul Weingarten wrote in The Chicago Tribune Magazine in 1983, “Harold Ramis has shaped this generation’s ideas of what is funny.”

Mr. Ramis collaborated with the people who came to be considered the royalty of comedy in the 1970s and ‘’80s, notably from the first-generation cast of “Saturday Night Live,” including John Belushi, Dan Aykroyd and Gilda Radner.

He was born in Chicago on Nov. 21, 1944, and attended Washington University in St. Louis on a National Merit Scholarship. He graduated with a degree in English literature before going to work as an orderly in a mental hospital, a substitute teacher in inner-city Chicago and the jokes editor at Playboy.

He got his start in comedy in 1969 at Chicago’s famed Second City improvisational theater troupe, an incubator for many “Saturday Night Live” performers, including Mr. Belushi, Mr. Murray and Mr. Aykroyd.

Mr. Belushi went on to star in “Animal House,” which Mr. Ramis helped write. Mr. Murray and Mr. Aykroyd starred alongside Mr. Ramis in “Ghostbusters,” which he also helped write. And Mr. Murray starred in “Groundhog Day” (1993) and “Caddyshack” (1980) — both directed by Mr. Ramis — and “Meatballs” (1979), which was written by Mr. Ramis and Mr. Blum, Mr. Goldberg and Janis Allen.

Among his projects in later years was “Analyze This” (1999), a comedy he directed and wrote in collaboration, starring Billy Crystal as a psychiatrist and Robert DeNiro as his mobster patient.

Mr. Ramis is survived by his wife, Erica; his sons Julian and Daniel; his daughter, Violet; and two grandchildren.

Mr. Aykroyd issued a statement on Monday calling Mr. Ramis “my brilliant, gifted, funny friend,” adding, “May he now get the answers he was always seeking.”

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VIDEO
[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vVCGAry7N-o&noredirect=1[/youtube]
VIDEO|1:47
Harold Ramis's Many Roles The film critic A. O. Scott discusses the career
of the actor and director Harold Ramis, who died Monday. He is best known
for his impact on comedy.





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http://www.vulture.com/2014/02/edelstein-on-harold-ramis-19442014.html


Edelstein on
Harold Ramis:
A Rock in a
Sea of Loons

By David Edelstein
Today at 5:47 PM



Ramis, on the set of Groundhog Day


Harold Ramis, the co-star of Ghostbusters and director of Caddyshack and Groundhog Day, was a famously menschy and stable guy in a sea of loons —some of them not so menschy or at the very least troubled, needy, and subject to unending insecurities. You could argue that said stability contributed to his less-than-electric presence onscreen, and he would actually have been the first to agree. Ramis said he realized one night while performing at Chicago’s Second Stage that he could never compete for laughs with John Belushi — a whirlwind, a force, a man who followed his demons. What Ramis followed was in some ways more mysterious. The ones who cultivate an inner calm while others are dropping around them might well have the tougher job. He was a straight man on and off the screen. But oh, what timing.

He began by penning jokes for Playboy, then moved into the world of the National Lampoon, where he worked on its short-lived but beloved Radio Hour beside some of the most iconoclastic writers in comedy — Doug Kenney, Henry Beard, Michael O’Donoghue, and eventually fellow Chicagoan John Hughes[/color]. That led to Second City with Gilda Radner and Belushi and a stint at SCTV and then co-writing the seminal slob comedy of (maybe) all time, Animal House. His first feature as director, Caddyshack, was a mess (loathed by co-writer Kenney, who would fall off a cliff and die while in the throes of his dismay at the producers’ editing choices), but one that somehow cohered and became a monster hit. Ramis had learned from Ivan Reitman (the director of Meatballs, Stripes, and Ghostbusters, all of which he co-wrote) to cast clown princes and let them find their own rhythm. In other ways, though, he was the opposite of Reitman, known in some quarters for his nastiness. Ramis kept himself centered so that others could bounce off the walls.

I’m guessing his Buddhist leanings helped give Groundhog Day its easy tempo and core of emotional truth: the yearning to go back in time — again and again and again — and get things “right.” What Murray’s character finally learns is the Zen ideal: to live in the present moment but with a kind of 20/20 hindsight. The film is — with 20/20 hindsight — one of the best of the ‘90s, underrated in its day the way virtually all mainstream Hollywood comedies are. And how many directors can say that they have redefined a holiday for all time? On February 2, many of us still wake up hoping to hear "I’ve Got You, Babe" and Frankie Yankovic’s "Pennsylvania Polka."

Ramis had an awful time on Groundhog Day with Murray, with whom he’d worked on Caddyshack, Stripes, and, most famously, as Egon the thick-lensed brain in Ghostbusters and the underrated Ghostbusters II. During a Q&A with me while promoting his lone noir, The Ice Harvest (sardonic but not a comedy), he said that Murray had become impossible even by Murray’s standard. They didn’t speak again until shortly before his death, when the two reconciled. He was, I guess, someone you don’t want to let go without thanks.

At our Q&A, I mentioned how much I loved Groundhog Day and National Lampoon’s Vacation and Analyze This, and waggled my hand to suggest I thought Analyze That wasn’t up to snuff. He looked enormously hurt. “What? You didn’t like Analyze That ?” he asked, with heartbreaking ingenuousness. “Huh.” I know that no one likes to hear that any of their movies aren’t up to snuff, but it occurred to me a minute too late that Ramis was one of those people who put his heart into everything.

He kept his life — the last part of which was spent in Chicago — on an even, Buddhist keel while devising parables that expressed his more innate belief: that the world was absurd and cruel and ridiculous. It has been the religion of Jewish comics at least since Moses saw his tribe worship false idols and smashed the Ten Commandments and then looked back up Mount Sinai and said, Oy. But in all those parables — from National Lampoon’s Vacation to Ghostbusters II to Groundhog Day to Multiplicity and lesser films — Ramis could right humanity’s overturned ship in ways that never seemed cheap. He brought an orderly frame to unruly passions. He upended us with laughter and kept us grounded.

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline CellarDweller

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  • A city boy's mentality, with a cowboy's soul.
good thoughts and prayers to his family.


Tell him when l come up to him and ask to play the record, l'm gonna say: ''Voulez-vous jouer ce disque?''
'Voulez-vous, will you kiss my dick?'
Will you play my record? One-track mind!

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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What I, Ned Ryerson,
Learned From Harold Ramis



http://www.slate.com/articles/arts/culturebox/2014/02/harold_ramis_stephen_tobolowsky_remembers_the_groundhog_day_director.html

Remembering Harold Ramis
What he taught me about comedy
on the set of Groundhog Day.


By Stephen Tobolowsky
(AKA 'Ned Ryerson' in Groundhog Day )
FEB. 25 2014 3:32 PM



Actor Stephen Tobolowsky as 'Ned Ryerson' in Groundhog Day.



Harold Ramis knew what it took to make something funny.


I didn’t know Harold Ramis well. Our main point of contact was that we worked together for a few weeks in 1992 on the movie Groundhog Day. However, that was no ordinary film. The experience was like walking on a rope bridge in the Himalayas. Every gust of wind was memorable. I would like to share the essential shapes I saw and the impression he made on me.

I met Harold when I tried out for Groundhog Day. He didn’t watch my audition. He auditioned with me! He grabbed a script, stood up, and played Phil Connors, the weatherman Bill Murray would make iconic. And Harold was good! He said he thought it would help put the actors at ease to read with a fellow actor rather than a casting assistant.

As he talked to me about the movie, I noticed something in his expression that, as I look back, was an essential characteristic. Whatever he said, whatever he did, he looked like he was trying to suppress a smile. It was as if laughter was always trying to escape. It didn’t matter if Bill Murray and I were shooting our street scene, or the weather had blown in, attempting to ruin our schedule, or if Harold was trying to settle some conflict on the set; he always seemed on the verge of laughing.

He taught me a lot about comedic directing in those few weeks. I asked him if he thought I was a bit over-the-top in my characterization as Ned Ryerson, the obnoxious insurance salesman forever accosting Phil Connors. Harold smiled and shook his head, “No, Stephen, in comedy you have the stew—and you have the spice in the stew. Bill is the stew. He has to play it straight. You’re the spice. Have fun!”

When the scene called for Bill to punch me out on the corner, I went to Harold and asked if there was anything he wanted me to do. He leaned in and whispered with that half-smile, “Do whatever you want. I’m setting the camera up wide. No close-ups. Comedy only happens when there is a relationship. We’ll see both you and Bill at the same time. Comedy lives in the two shot.”

At one break Harold came up to me for no reason at all. He looked off into the distance and ruminated, “You know, Stephen, it’s impossible to become a professional actor. It’s too hard for anyone to do it on their own. Everyone who has made it has had at least four heroes that helped them. They come from nowhere. They come when you least expect them. But they are there.” Harold didn’t know it, but he was one of my four.

My overall impression of the man will not be his enormous talent, even though his achievements will be lasting. I was struck by his courage. He was unafraid. When we were at the end of the first week of shooting, Harold shot a huge scene when Phil Connors realizes time has stopped and he is living in a world with no consequences. Bill spray-paints his room at the inn. He cuts his hair into a mohawk. He chainsaws the place in two, knowing, in the morning, all will be back to normal.

If you know anything about filmmaking, you know how difficult and expensive that scene was to shoot. It took three days. Everything that was destroyed had to be rebuilt. Paint had to be cleaned off of walls. The set had to be restored for different camera shots. Bill’s mohawk toupee cost thousands to make. Not to mention it was near the beginning of shooting, when everything a director does is scrutinized by the studios.

Harold shot the scene, looked at it, and threw it away.

He replaced it with simplicity itself. Bill is about to go to sleep. He breaks a pencil and puts the two pieces on his nightstand. Cut to: Sonny and Cher on the radio. Bill wakes up. The pencil is whole.

When I saw this in a theater filled with real people, the audience gasped. Harold understood the power of poetry and had the courage to tell the story his way.

We often have no choice in our memories. Sometimes the most trivial things remain, when other moments of seemingly great significance are forgotten. I was at a party with Harold in Malibu after the shoot. He brought his guitar and said, “I just finished writing a new song, want to hear it?” He sat under the stars and played. It was beautiful, so filled with joy. Harold looked like he was 18. He closed his eyes and his perpetual half-smile was now whole. It may have been the happiest I had ever seen him.

Fortunately, his work and talent have been preserved. It is the magic conjured by the art of film. We can always coax him to return to us through our laughter. It’s the lesson he taught me, comedy always lives in the two shot.

"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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http://www.dnainfo.com/new-york/20140225/tribeca/harold-ramis-fans-leave-twinkies-filled-tribute-at-ghostbusters-firehouse


Harold Ramis Fans
Leave Twinkies-Filled Tribute
at 'Ghostbusters' Firehouse

By Gustavo Solis
February 25, 2014 12:30pm





Harold Ramis fans brought flowers, Twinkies, and Crunch bars to the TribBeCa firehouse where
part of the famous flick was filmed.




Victoria Booth, 32, heard of Ramis' death last night and decided to place some flowers outside
the firehouse Tuesday morning.



TRIBECA — Harold Ramis fans honored the late comedian who brought them "Ghostbusters," "Animal House" and "Groundhog Day" with an impromptu tribute made of Twinkies and flowers on Tuesday.

The memorial sprang up Monday night at the Hook & Ladder 8 firehouse on North Moore and Varick Streets — which served as the Ghostbusters headquarters in Ramis' 1984 classic movie — after news of the 69-year-old's death. It was quickly filled with flowers, along with Twinkies, a nod to a scene in which Ramis' character Dr. Egon Spengler used the Hostess snack cake as a measurement of supernatural activity.



[youtube=425,350]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pzaQjS1JstY&noredirect=1[/youtube]



“I’ve seen [Ghostbusters] about a thousand billion jillion times,” said Victoria Booth, 32, who stopped by the firehouse about 11 a.m. Tuesday. “I can just watch over and over again.”

Booth lay down some flowers and red cutout hearts with quotes from Ghostbusters.

Others stopped by to take pictures and admire the unorthodox memorial, originally reported by Gothamist.






"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"

Offline Aloysius J. Gleek

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Bump.
"Tu doives entendre je t'aime."
(and you know who I am...)


Cowboy Curtis (Laurence Fishburne)
and Pee-wee in the 1990 episode
"Camping Out"