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Harold Ramis Dies At 69 136

Posted by samzenpus
from the print-is-dead dept.
samzenpus writes "Writer and comedian Harold Ramis has passed away at 69. Ramis had a hand in many classic comedies but is especially loved for playing the ghost-hunting Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters. 'His creativity, compassion, intelligence, humor and spirit will be missed by all who knew and loved him,' said his family in a statement."
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Harold Ramis Dies At 69

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:14PM (#46326593)

    :(

    Egon the scientist left an impression on me as an 11 year old kid.

    While his character was supposed to be a little dorky I suppose, he was just pure awesome to me. He was the only Ghostbuster to be totally on top of things, and knew what he was doing. He inspired me to be the techie I am today.

    RIP Harold Ramis.

    • I concur. An inspirational nerd.
      • by grcumb (781340) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:38PM (#46329099) Homepage Journal

        I concur. An inspirational nerd.

        I sympathise, but as an old Canadian geezer, I always felt that by the time the US audience finally heard about them, the SCTV alumni had already done their best work. That troupe - and their cheezy, low-budget show [wikipedia.org] - formed my sense of humour more than anything else. Dave Thomas, Harold Ramis, Eugene Levy, Andrea Martin, Catherine O'Hara... all of them went on to make memorable comedy in the US. I think Joe Flaherty was the only one who didn't make a big splash. (Which is America's loss, not his.)

        But there was a time when all of them were callow, reckless youths with nothing to lose by making asses of themselves week after week on a second-rate Toronto-based network that was so small (it had only 13 stations at the start) it too had nothing to lose.

        Back in junior high school, my week was centred around that blessed moment when the Indian-head test pattern would appear and the announcer would say, 'Don't touch that dial. Don't touch that one either. And stop touching yourself.' I still remember the intonation....

        (... I never did stop touching myself, but that's another story.)

        • As a younger Canadian, I first saw Ramis as Egon. Never could get into SCTV in repeats. Maybe because so much of their stuff had been stolen by other acts at that point that it didn't feel fresh. I had a similar weekly Canadian Comedy inspiration, but it was The Kids in the Hall.
    • by Oscaro (153645)

      Same here. When I was a kid, I wanted to be like Egon.

      • by cayenne8 (626475)
        I also very much loved him as Russell Ziskey in Stripes.

        "I've always been kind of a pacifist. When I was a kid, my father told me, "Never hit anyone in anger, unless you're absolutely sure you can get away with it."

        I don't know what kind of soldier I'm gonna make, but I want you guys to know that if we ever get into real heavy combat... I'll be right behind you guys. Every step of the way."

    • by Piata (927858)
      Egon was secretly everyone's favourite.
    • by jdavidb (449077) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:39PM (#46327707) Homepage Journal
      I'd have to agree with that. In particular, I always remember him for the line "Print is dead." It certainly wasn't in 1984, and saying so made a person sound like a lunatic. But look at print today!
    • Egon's sexuality (Score:4, Interesting)

      by SuperBanana (662181) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:44PM (#46327751)

      While his character was supposed to be a little dorky I suppose, he was just pure awesome to me.

      One of the things I enjoyed about his character in the movies as I got to be older was his relationship to Jeanine was a bit complicated. She clearly puts the moves on him...but unlike nearly every male movie character I can think of (who isn't implied to be gay) - he's ambivalent, tolerates, or rebuffs her. The stereotypical reaction from male movie characters is "Yeah, let's get it on!", especially in action movies.

      However, there's a scene - I can't remember which - where he says something, she responds with "OH EGON, I just blah blah blah" and he responds with a look that's half "Yeah, baby. You know you like it" and half "siiiigh, ok, I'll console you, fine..."

      Now...if only Winston's character hadn't been so racist. That's the part I hate the most about Ghostbusters; Winston Zedmore is pretty much just there to bounce jokes off of or be the 'dumb black clown' character. I feel like the cartoon actually gave him character development and whatnot more on par with the others (although did they ever show any of his family, for example?) The series definitely played up the "the most normal and people-skills-equipped of the group" elements.

      • by cayenne8 (626475) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:54PM (#46327853) Homepage Journal
        "That's a big twinkie..."

        C'mon, Winston got one of the funniest lines in the movie...

        There's no reason to pull out the racist card any time a black man isn't portrayed as the ultimate hero and intellect in a movie. All the characters in this COMEDY were slightly strange and comedic characters...

        As was said in another movie Ramis did.."Lighten up Francis".

        • There's no reason to pull out the racist card any time a black man isn't portrayed as the ultimate hero and intellect in a movie. All the characters in this COMEDY were slightly strange and comedic characters...

          Yes, except virtually the only lines his character gets are to crack jokes.

          http://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmw... [tvtropes.org]

          • by Rakarra (112805)

            I dunno, he had a number of moments of lucidity, like when he and Ray were talking in the car about the increase in spiritual activity, and he's the one who points out that maybe what they've been seeing is what was written of the last days in the Book of Revelations. It's a pretty sobering moment, one of the few moments that the movie doesn't try to play for laughs.

            He was supposed to be the straight man amongst the zaniness; he was more of an urban everyman rather than the university staff steeped in acade

            • Smartest guy in the movie: Winston Zeddemore: No offense, guys, but I've gotta get my own lawyer.
          • Re:look at his lines (Score:4, Interesting)

            by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:25PM (#46328243) Journal

            That's largely because he and Bill Murray were the only strictly sane people in the entire movie. He was just an average joe looking for a job, and Murray was a con artist. Everyone else was, to be blunt, to one degree or another out of their minds.

            This is the first time I've ever be introduced to the notion that Winston was merely the obligatory black character.

          • by jxander (2605655)

            Except when he was the only sane person in the room, and had to convince the mayor to let the guys go be heroes

            Or when he and Ray had a candid conversation about Revelations and the end times.

            He certainly wasn't as ... odd ... as the rest of the crew, but I hardly consider that a BAD thing, or in any way racist.

        • by cptnapalm (120276) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:44PM (#46328473)

          If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

          Ray, when someone asks if you are a god, you say YES!

          I fucking loved Winston when I was a kid.

          • by MightyMartian (840721) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:48PM (#46328515) Journal

            Winston was pretty essential to the film, because he was the everyman. Without Winston, you had two crazy ass scientists (Egon and Ray) and a conman (Venkman). As with any movie filled with nutsos and and miscreants as protagonists, you need a straight man who can sort of stand a bit outside the action and act as a sort of proxy for the audience. The character of Winston reminds me a lot of Murray Slaughter off of the Mary Tyler Moore show; both weren't necessarily part of any given action, but rather served to underline the absurdity of what was going on.

            • Re:Egon's sexuality (Score:4, Interesting)

              by SternisheFan (2529412) on Monday February 24, 2014 @07:33PM (#46329039)
              Ernie Hudson played a character in Ghostbusters, one of many films he acted in. Read his Wiki entry linked below to know the man from the character).From Wiki....

              In the original script for Ghostbusters, Winston Zeddemore was intended to be the smartest and most capable of the Ghostbusters, a former Marine with multiple degrees and a Ph.D., making him more suited for the job than the founding three Ghostbusters. However, in the final screenplay none of these qualifications were mentioned. The changes are discussed in detail in the commentary on the DVD of Ghostbusters, the explanation being Winston allowed the technobabble to be put into layman's terms.

              However, the novelization of Ghostbusters mentions Zeddemore's service with the Marines prior to joining the Ghostbusters. Further, in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, while the Ghostbusters are on a mission in the New York History Museum, Zeddemore reminisces about the time he spent studying for his doctorate in the museum's Egyptology wing. (In context, it's unclear if Zeddemore studied for the doctorate prior to joining the Ghostbusters, or sometime between the events of the movies and the game's setting in 1991.)

              Zeddemore is a religious man to some extent, saying in a discussion in Ghostbusters that he believes in God and "loves Jesus' style". While driving the Ecto-1 with Ray he voices his thoughts that the sudden spike in ghosts appearances might be a sign of the apocalypse, pointing out that while they have come to treat capturing ghosts as routine pest control, in a very real sense the dead are literally "rising from the grave".

              http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W... [wikipedia.org]

              Ernie Hudson Wiki... http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/E... [wikipedia.org]

              Ernie Hudson interview on YouTube... http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

          • by Xyrus (755017)

            If there's a steady paycheck in it, I'll believe anything you say.

            The person who wrote that line was either a certifiable genius or an authentic wacko. ;)

            More seriously, this line/scene pretty much summarized the recession years of the 80's and is a pretty good summary of society in general.

      • by epyT-R (613989) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:02PM (#46327969)

        Ugh.. One of the great things about ghostbusters was that it came out at a time when accepted humor wasn't limited by this kind of PC garbage. The social(ist) reconstructionists didn't get to video entertainment en-masse in this country until the end of the 80s. If that's not what you want, go watch one of those effeminate vampire movies.

        You know, it's ok to tell a story without bolting PC narratives onto the side, or worse, squeezing all of them within those limitations ("I've seen shit that'll turn you white!"). Frankly, movies and tv are inundated with it now, to the point of absurdity. It's almost like the script writers and directors are screaming "I CARE MORE ABOUT NONWHITES, WOMEN, AND GAYS THAN YOU!" at each other and their audience with their stories. By the early 90s, it was already cliche (the "empowered 90s woman"), and by the end of the decade, it was boring and predictable. Today, it's cranked up to 11 and downright condescending. Enough already.

        • And PC too (Score:2, Interesting)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Personally, I thought Winston was the most real character in the whole zoo; a necessary character to ground all the others. And I loved his "I've seen shit that'll turn you white!" line--and I'm black.

      • The thing is, the film needed a character like Winston to be a straight man. He's the stand in for the audience to whom things are explained since he doesn't have the knowledge of the other characters who were the scientists. Watson served that function in Sherlock Holmes.

      • by TheLink (130905)

        Winston Zeddemore: Ray. When someone asks you if you're a god, you say, "YES!"
        https://www.youtube.com/watch?... [youtube.com]

        Who's the dumb clown in that clip... The one who got them zapped with his spiel? Or the one that provided the punchline?

    • by Anonymous Coward

      "This reminds me of the time you tried to drill a hole through your head, remember that?"

      "That would've worked if you hadn't stopped me."

      Awesome, but scary.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      This sucks. I hope Bill Murray is feeling like shit for not wanting to film Ghostbusters III.
      • Bill Murray is a big famous actor now, since he got his (admittedly deserved) Oscar nomination for Lost in Translation.

        It's a damned pity, but I don't see how a third movie could go ahead without Egon.

        • Give this Bill Murray/ Howard Stern 2013 interview a listen. Jump to 20:00 for Ghostbuster3 info...

          http://www.youtube.com/watch?v... [youtube.com]

        • Bill Murray has been a "big famous actor" since 1977 when he replaced Chevy Chase in Saturday Night Live. Ghostbusters is a young man's movie, and Murray looks older than Gene Hackman on a bad day. They'd have to apply makeup with a trowel.
        • A third movie could easily go ahead, as it would begin with Egon's funeral, clips of their reminiscences of Egon at a gathering of the remaining Ghostbusters when some plot device causes them to go back into action with Egon's replacement, his lab assistant, his son, Younger brother, etc. or some other reason to hold the plot together. Pepper the dialogue with references to Egon, keep the special effects within reason and you have a modestly priced film, give the original Ghostbusters a piece of the action

    • by ackthpt (218170)

      :(

      Egon the scientist left an impression on me as an 11 year old kid.

      While his character was supposed to be a little dorky I suppose, he was just pure awesome to me. He was the only Ghostbuster to be totally on top of things, and knew what he was doing. He inspired me to be the techie I am today.

      RIP Harold Ramis.

      He left an impression on me, too. Nerds could be cool.

      Thanks for the memories, Harold/Egon.

  • Egon Gone (Score:4, Funny)

    by Freshly Exhumed (105597) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:14PM (#46326599) Homepage

    He crossed the beams!

  • It's a pussy.

  • He will be missed.
    • I was going to comment the same... as much as I liked Ghost Busters... Stripes is classic.
    • by wcrowe (94389)

      My favorite too.

      • Anyone who has ever paraded in uniform for tinpot martinets and sadistic drill instructors completely splits a gut over that hilarious parade square scene! Boom shukka lukka lukka boom shukka lukka lukka!

  • Thank you (Score:5, Insightful)

    by MetricT (128876) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:16PM (#46326619) Homepage

    For making us laugh, making us think, and making the world a little happier. You did good.

  • From SCTV to Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day and so many guilty pleasures from the 80s

    You will be missed

    • by cayenne8 (626475)
      Don't forget where it all really started with him in a big way....

      Animal House....

    • by hguorbray (967940)
      SCTV is the closest this country (well, canada, to be fair) ever came to classic english-style absurdist humor a la Goon show, Python, Not the 9 o'clock news, etc

      It was consistently funny in the first incarnation and was still decent the 2nd time around, although the 'guest band' part of the format trapped them more into the TV Variety show format -but it was about a fictional TV network, so....

      Kids in the Hall, Strangers with Candy and many other American sketch comedy shows definitely owe something to SCT
      • I've even heard that Matt Groening modeled Springfield on Mellonville. He wanted to create a similar town with recurring characters that he could use as a sort of ironic and satirical skewer of various aspects of American society.

        Not all the later SCTV episodes were all that bad. Some were incredibly ambitious, now that they had a larger budget. The problem in later years was that Bob and Doug Mackenzie and Ed Grimley began to tower over the rest of the characters, and gave Dave Thomas, Rick Moranis and Mar

  • I grew up on his 80's flicks.

    Way too young in this day and age.

  • Sample (Score:5, Funny)

    by Cow Jones (615566) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:20PM (#46326685)
    I'd like a sample of his brain tissue.
  • I really liked him in the Ghostbusters movies

  • by Impy the Impiuos Imp (442658) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:26PM (#46326749) Journal

    "Now I really collect spores, molds, and fungi."

    Oh come on, he would laugh!

    • by JustOK (667959)
      No he wouldn't. He's dead.
      • by Anonymous Coward

        "He would laugh" is a counterfactual conditional with the antecedent omitted. The assertion is that he would laugh if he were able (but he can't because he's dead). The word "would" should have been a clue.

    • by geekoid (135745)

      Hilarious, and yes, yes he would laugh.

  • Caddyshack. RIP

  • by John Pfeiffer (454131) on Monday February 24, 2014 @04:37PM (#46326873) Homepage

    This news makes me really sad. Ghostbusters shaped an incalculably large portion of my childhood. :(

    Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day are two of my all-time favorite comedies (My top-top probably being Grosse Pointe Blank) in fact I just watched Ghostbusters the other night on my new bigass TV, and was considering watching Groundhog Day... (And now, definitely will tonight.)

    One of my favorite moments in Ghostbusters is when Egonâ" in a complete deviation from his usual demeanor, and out of all the people present â"ends up being the one who jumps Peck shouting "YOUR MOTHER!" when he accuses them of being responsible for the explosion at the firehouse. It's something that always stuck out in my mind as being particularly funny.

  • Dan Akroyd lives on. TANJ

    • Re:And yet (Score:4, Insightful)

      by GodfatherofSoul (174979) on Monday February 24, 2014 @05:42PM (#46327729)

      Dan Akroyd is the all-time winner of the Landing a Woman Way Out of your Class geek Olympics. I in good faith cannot criticize him or anything he has ever done.

      • High status has a hell of a lot to do with that. Wealth, too, but status is king. Why else do dirt-poor garage bands tour the nation getting laid like rockstars everywhere they go?
  • I still remember sitting in my living room when I was a kid watching Second City TV and hearing Floyd Robertson (Joe Flaherty) and Earl Camenbert (Harold Ramis) muddle their way through the "local" news. That was my first exposure to Harold Ramis, and every time I have seen him since has brought back that memory.

    I'm sad that he won't be making new ones for me.

    • by crmanriq (63162)

      And I'm an idiot. That was Eugene Levy.

      Crap.

      Now I'll go feel sad. And stupid.

  • I was MASSIVELY bummed out when I read it this morning.

    Gonna miss his deadpan affect. It just made all the insane things going on around him (or happening to him) even funnier.

  • by queequeg1 (180099) on Monday February 24, 2014 @06:31PM (#46328317)

    Not acting per se, but he was excellent in the Caddyshack documentary. Some of the insights into how that movie got made were awesome. Especially his observations about the direction a movie can take when you decide to make an animatronic gopher one the lead characters.

  • "I collect spores, mold and fungus." - Egon "Ghostbusters"

  • Egon: Venkman, get a stool sample. Peter Venkman: Business, or personal?
  • "Doe.... Ray.... Egon!" *smirk*

    The developmental years of my life would have been very different if not for his specific influence on them. Fare well Mr. Ramis, and thank you.

  • I'm breaking my long silence for this...

    The world is worse off for having lost Harold Ramis [wikipedia.org]. May Dan Akroyd [wikipedia.org] make up for his loss.

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