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 vaculitis 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.”
His wife, Erica Mann Ramis, tells the Chicago Tribune that her husband, who lived in Chicago, “was surrounded by family when he died at 12:53 a.m. [Monday] from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels.”
The Associated Press also confirmed the news with Ramis’ attorney, Fred Toczek.
As the Tribune says:
“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 andAnalyze This….
“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.”
In 2005, Ramis talked with Fresh Air‘s Terry Gross about his work. Of Caddyshack, he said, “I had this notion of [it] being like a Marx Brothers movie and Rodney [Dangerfield] was the Groucho of the team.”
Tribune: 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.
A Movie for All Time: Groundhog Day
Re-running this Feb. 2005 cover story, year after year, is a tradition at NRO. It’s a thoughtful and entertaining review, for a beloved cult movie that’s gotten an unusual amount of attention, for a comedy, over the years, since its release in 1983. Both serious and funny (it’s funny first) Groundhog Day is also moral, and spiritual, in ways we don’t expect. Every religion, creed, faith, philosophy known to man claims the movie’s message as its own. In scholarly theological circles, no less, it’s generated a lot of ink, and a lot of discussion. This article is a good summary of all that.
Jonah Goldberg writes:
Here’s a line you’ll either recognize or you won’t: “This is one time where television really fails to capture the true excitement of a large squirrel predicting the weather.” If you don’t recognize this little gem, you’ve either never seen Groundhog Day or you’re not a fan of what is, in my opinion, one of the best films of the last 40 years. As the day of the groundhog again approaches, it seems only fitting to celebrate what will almost undoubtedly join It’s a Wonderful Life in the pantheon of America’s most uplifting, morally serious, enjoyable, and timeless movies.
When I set out to write this article, I thought it’d be fun to do a quirky homage to an offbeat flick, one I think is brilliant as both comedy and moral philosophy. But while doing what I intended to be cursory research — how much reporting do you need for a review of a twelve-year-old movie that plays constantly on cable? — I discovered that I wasn’t alone in my interest.