Comedy actor, writer and director Harold Ramis is best known for the 1984 film Ghostbusters, which he co-wrote and starred in along with Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Ramis had co-written and planned to star in the long-awaited Ghostbusters III — but did not get the chance. Ramis died Monday in Chicago from an autoimmune disorder. He was 69 years old.
Ramis co-wrote Animal House, Meatballs and Stripes. He co-wrote and directed Caddyshack, and directed Murray inGroundhog Day.
Today, we remember Ramis with excerpts from a 2005 interview with Fresh Air's Terry Gross:
"I played a lot of weasels, a lot of cowards; sweating cowards was my thing. I used to play like hippies and, like, counterculture guys, and [John] Belushi kind of took that over, so I moved into the coward role. … The other thing I would always play was the character called "specs" or "the professor." I’d play the brainy guy, which I ended up doing, of course, in Ghostbusters.”
image via US Magazine Credit: Columbia/courtesy Everett Collection
Bill Murray improvised the “Cinderella story” sequence from two lines of stage direction. Director Harold Ramis simply asked Murray to emulate a kid announcing his own fantasy sports moment. Murray simply asked for four rows of ‘mums and did the scene in one take.
“Harold Ramis was the master of the smart dumb-movie, which he could only make because he actually was one of the smartest guys around – he could fence, speak Greek, joke about Trotsky, and do the ritual drumming he learned attending Robert Bly’s men’s groups. Like [Bill] Murray, he was always more serious than people originally supposed.”