Harold Ramis' most recognizable claim to fame was staked in starring in the popular Ghostbusters series and the movie Stripes, which he co-wrote. He was a face to remember during the 1980s, but actually had far more writing credits to his name. With the hit movies such as Meatballs, Animal House, and Caddyshack, Harold Ramis was responsible for directing and/or writing around roughly a dozen of the highest grossing movies of all time.
Harold Ramis got his start at the Second City in Chicago in 1969, while still working as an assistant editor for Playboy magazine. He gave up journalism and moved to New York to perform in a National Lampoon's Radio Hour show -- which was released as an audio recording -- with other Second City Television hall-of-famers like Andrea Martin and Bill Murray. Rather than join the cast of Saturday Night Live, Ramis chose to join forces with the hit Canadian TV series SCTV as cast member, head writer, and co-producer.
With such a firm foothold in the acting and writing world of comedy, Ramis went on to direct, consistently casting former troupe members from his SCTV and National Lampoon days in his movies. One of his most successful movies was the hit Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray, for which he won Best Original Screenplay award from the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) in 1994. For Groundhog Day, Ramis was also nominated as Screenwriter of the Year by the London Film Critics Circle. His solo efforts at writing and directing later in his career seemed to be more focused on lighthearted comedies (Analyze This) than the wacky humor of his earlier career (the Vacation) series.
Ramis continued to take acting parts when not directing. He held an Honorary Doctorate of the Arts at Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri, of which he was an alumni. He has been married twice and has four children. Ramis died from complications of an autoimmune disorder at his home in the Chicago area in February 2014; he was 69 years old. ~ Sandy Lawson, Rovi