Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis

Infobox actor

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birthdate = birth date and age|1944|11|21
birthplace = Chicago, Illinois, U.S.
deathdate =
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othername =
yearsactive =
spouse = Erica Mann
website = http://www.haroldramis.com/

Harold Allen Ramis (born November 21, 1944) is an American actor, director, and writer, specializing in comedy. His best known film acting roles are as "Egon Spengler" in "Ghostbusters" (1984) and "Russell Ziskey" in "Stripes" (1981); Ramis also co-wrote both films. As a writer/director, his films include the highly popular comedies "Caddyshack" (1980), "Groundhog Day" (1993), and "Analyze This" (1999). Ramis was the original head writer of the TV series SCTV (in which he played Moe Green), and as one of three writers to pen the screenplay for the film "National Lampoon's Animal House" (1978). Most recently, he had small roles in the films "Orange County" (2002), "The Last Kiss" (2006), "Knocked Up" (2007) and "Walk Hard" (2007), and has directed episodes of the US version of the TV series "The Office"

Early life

Ramis was born in Chicago, Illinois, the son of Ruth (née Cokee) and Nathan Ramis. [ [http://www.filmreference.com/film/53/Harold-Ramis.html Harold Ramis Biography (1944-) ] ] He had a Jewish upbringing, although he currently does not practice any single religion. [ [http://www2.kenyon.edu/Depts/Religion/Fac/Adler/Misc/GroundhogDay.htm Groundhog Day ] ] After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, his first job was as a mental-ward orderly. Ramis was a member of the Alpha Xi chapter of Zeta Beta Tau fraternity at Washington University.


Ramis worked as joke editor for "Playboy" magazine. He later was associated with the "guerrilla video" commune TVTV, headed by Michael Shamberg. He performed with Chicago's Second City improvisational comedy troupe starting in 1969. ["The Second City: Backstage at the World's Greatest Comedy Theater" by Sheldon Patinkin.] He also performed with the Broadway revue "National Lampoon's Lemmings". Ramis was also a writer and performer on the "SCTV" television series during its first three years (1976-1979). Memorable characterizations by Ramis on "SCTV" include corrupt Dialing for Dollars host Moe Green, amiable cop Officer Friendly, exercise guru Swami Banananda, board chairman Allan "Crazy Legs" Hirschman and home dentist Mort Finkel. Celebrities impersonated by Ramis on "SCTV" include Kenneth Clark and Leonard Nimoy.

Ramis left "SCTV" to pursue a film career. He wrote his first film, "National Lampoon's Animal House", with National Lampoon alumni Douglas Kenney and Chris Miller. The film followed the struggle between a rowdy fraternity house and the college's dean. Its humor was raunchy for its time. "Animal House" "broke all box-office records for comedies" and earned "a hundred and forty-one million dollars”. His next film was "Meatballs" starring Bill Murray, which Ramis wrote. The film was a financial success and it was notable for being the first of six film collaborations between Murray and Ramis. His third film and his directorial debut was "Caddyshack", which he wrote with Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray. The film starred Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield, Ted Knight, and Bill Murray. Like Ramis's previous two films, "Caddyshack" was also a large commercial success. In 1982, Ramis was attached to direct the film adaptation of the Pulitzer Prize-winning book "A Confederacy of Dunces" by John Kennedy Toole. The film was to star John Belushi and Richard Pryor, but the project was aborted when Belushi died that year. [Saito, Stephen.] In 1984, Ramis collaborated with Dan Aykroyd on the screenplay for Ghostbusters, which became one of the biggest hits of the summer, in which he also starred as Dr. Egon Spengler, a role he reprised for the 1989 sequel (which he also co-wrote with Aykroyd). [" [http://www.premiere.com/features/3861/20-movies-not-coming-soon-to-a-theater-near-you-page4.html 20 Movies Not Coming Soon to a Theater Near You] ", "Premiere", 2006.] His later film, "Groundhog Day", has been called "Ramis's masterpiece”.

His films were noted for attacking "the smugness of institutional life ... with an impish good [will] that is unmistakably American".Friend, Tad. " [http://www.newyorker.com/archive/2004/04/19/040419fa_fact3 Comedy First: How Harold Ramis’s movies have stayed funny for twenty-five years.] ", "The New Yorker", 2004-04-19. Retrieved on August 28, 2007.] They are also noted for "Ramis's signature tongue-in-cheek pep talks”. Sloppiness and improv are also important aspects of his work. Ramis frequently depicts the qualities of "anger, curiosity, laziness, and woolly idealism" in "a hyper-articulate voice".

In 2004, Ramis was inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. In 2004, he turned down the opportunity to direct the Bernie Mac-Ashton Kutcher film "Guess Who" because he considered it to be poorly written. Also in 2004, Ramis began filming the low budget "The Ice Harvest", "his first attempt to make a comic film noir”. Ramis spent six weeks trying to get the film greenlit because he had difficulty reaching an agreement between stars John Cusack and Billy Bob Thornton's salaries. The film received a mixed reaction. His typical directing fee, as of 2004, is $5 million.


Ramis's films have had an important impact on subsequent generations of comedians and comedy writers. Filmmakers Jay Roach, Jake Kasdan, Adam Sandler, and Peter and Bobby Farrelly have cited his films as amongst their favorites.

Personal life

Ramis has three children. His daughter Violet was born in 1977 with his first wife, Anne, and sons Julian (born 1990) and Daniel (born 1994), with his present wife, Erica Mann.



Directing, writing and production


External links

*imdb name | id=0000601 | name=Harold Ramis
* [http://www.dvdreview.com/html/dvd_review_-_harold_ramis.shtml DVD Review - Harold Ramis]
* [http://www.stlouiswalkoffame.org/inductees/harold-ramis.html St. Louis Walk of Fame]
* [http://www.newyorker.com/fact/content/?040419fa_fact3 Profile of Ramis] in "The New Yorker"

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