The work of actor, writer and director Harold Ramis has profoundly changed the course of American comedy. Among the iconic films Harold helped create are Animal House, Caddyshack, Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day and Analyze This to name just a few.
Harold joined The Second City Mainstage in 1969, writing and performing in six revues over four years. A Chicago native, Ramis’ exceptional stage work led him to roles on The National Lampoon Show and SCTV. Ramis turned his focus to film when he created a script for National Lampoon’s magazine which was turned into the screenplay for the groundbreaking comedy Animal House.
After co-writing Meatballs, starring Bill Murray, Ramis turned his focus to directing with Caddyshack, which he also co-wrote. Continuing a streak of successful films, Ramis’ work on Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day solidified his status as a legendary American filmmaker. Upon his passing, President Barack Obama was moved to make a public statement about Harold’s influence on American culture:
“Harold Ramis is one of America’s greatest satirists and, like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City. When we watched his movies – from ‘Animal House’ and ‘Caddyshack’ to ‘Ghostbusters’ and ‘Groundhog Day’ — we didn’t just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings.”