Harold Ramis (1944-2014)
IMDbPro Starmeter Top 5,000 79
- 9 wins & 10 nominations total
- Ben's Dad
- characters (2018)
- In Development
- based on characters created by
- based on "Ghostbusters" written by
- based on the 1984 film "Ghostbusters" written by
- characters and universe
- Dr. Egon Spengler (voice)
- Professor Bowler
- Don Durkett
- Rob's Dad (scenes deleted)
- Sheldon Blumenthal
- Chris Moore
- Elon Spengler
- Dr. Egon Spengler
- Alan Appleby
- executive producer
- producer (produced by)
- executive producer (uncredited)
- associate producer
- 20 episodes
- 6′ 2″ (1.88 m)
- November 21 , 1944
- Chicago, Illinois, USA
- February 24 , 2014
- Chicago, Illinois, USA (complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis)
- Spouses Erica Mann May 7, 1989 - February 24, 2014 (his death, 2 children)
- Children Daniel Ramis
- Parents Ruth Ramis
- Other works Played Dr. Egon Spengler in Ray Parker Jr. 's music video "Ghostbusters"
- 1 Portrayal
- 2 Interviews
- 4 Magazine Cover Photos
Did you know
- Trivia After not speaking to each other for a number of years, Bill Murray , reportedly visited Ramis before his death and they both made their peace with each other.
- Quotes I never work just to work. It's some combination of laziness and self-respect.
- Trademarks Deep resonant voice
- When did Harold Ramis die?
- How did Harold Ramis die?
- How old was Harold Ramis when he died?
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How MPC Brought Back the Late Harold Ramis in Ghostbusters: Afterlife
MPC was entrusted with bringing the character of Dr. Egon Spengler, who had been played by the late Harold Ramis back to the big screens for Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
To commemorate Ghostbusters Day on June 8, we’re pleased to share our brand new making of.
To bring Egon Spengler back from the spirit realm, the team began by studying his life’s work. MPC Film’s Character Lab built a library of reference material from the 1984 and 1989 Ghostbusters films and were given access to digital scans of earlier footage that had never been used before. By studying the footage, the artists were able to select key angles and facial expressions and began to create an accurate likeness.
“The next stage was to explore the aging process to reflect concept art supplied by the filmmakers. Our texture artists supplemented this with their own library of skin maps and photography of a life model of a similar age,” said DFX supervisor Sebastien Raets.
The Character Lab team was supplied with scans and photographs of the stand-in actor performing on set with the cast.
“ We gathered reference material of Harold Ramis from the 1984 and 1989 Ghostbusters films, and we were given access to digital scans of previously unseen footage and alternative takes. Studying this footage, we made selections of key angles and facial expressions and began the process of matching the young actor, focusing on the head structure, hairstyle and facial expressions ,” said Raets.
Once the team was confident with the matching of 1984 Egon and could show a convincing match to 1984 shots, MPC’s VFX artists then moved on to aging Egon to match concept art supplied by the client. The target here was an appropriately Egon that would be recognized by the audience as opposed to a straight recreation of Harold Ramus at this age. Alongside the artwork for the aged Egon, they were supplied with scans and photographs of the double who performed on set and an actor cast for his features seen in the artwork.
The artists then supplemented this with MPC’s own library of skin maps and photography of an appropriately aged life model. The asset team worked closely with the Shots team to develop the features most important in achieving a convincing likeness. A nuanced facial model and rig were developed to help animation create a convincing emotional performance. Photoreal hair, skin, and eyes were developed to help Lighting and Comp assemble photoreal recreations.
Respectfully bringing Harold Ramis back to the screen was a project we were honored to take on, and we were humbled and overjoyed with the positive response from the client, the audience and Harold’s family,” Sebastien Raets
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- View history
- 1 Early Career
- 2 Film Roles
- 5 References
- 6.1 Selected Photos
- 6.2 Secondary Canon
Early Career [ ]
Harold was first known as a writer in National Lampoon's Animal House. Harold directed National Lampoon's Vacation in 1983, starring Chevy Chase and Beverly D'Angelo. Harold's daughter Violet Ramis had a minor role in the movie. As Randy Quaid/Eddie Johnson's daughter in the movie Daisy Mable Johnson.
Film Roles [ ]
Harold was best known for his work on Meatballs, Caddyshack, Year One, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Stripes etc.
Passing [ ]
On February 24th, 2014, Mr. Ramis passed away due to complications from a rare disease Autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a condition he battled for four years. Ramis died Monday morning in his Chicago-area home and is survived by his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, three children and two grandchildren. 
- For Ghostbusters , Ramis decided Egon would never smile per a description of him in the script as a "New Age Mr. Spock." 
- In The Real Ghostbusters episode " Take Two ", Winston mentions Ramis' last name while reading off the cast of the movie being made about the Ghostbusters. 
- The Scoleri Brothers are very loosely based on the real-life Scoleri Brothers, who once robbed Ramis's father, Nate Ramis' store. 
- The scene of Oscar 's kidnapping evolved from Ramis' initial idea about the baby walking like an adult. 
- Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis enjoyed the stunt scene of the Ghostbusters rappelling down into the Manhattan Museum of Art 's restoration room and did it five times for fun. 
- John Melchior took a flight to Chicago and spoke with Ramis about committing to Ghostbusters: The Video Game . Ramis was somewhat reluctant at first but once he was sure that it was not going be a cheaply made game, then Melchior went to see Aykroyd. 
- Melchior and the team went to the set of "The Office" and after some waiting, showed Ramis the demo of the game during a break from directing an episode. 
- For Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Ramis was credited as a writer but to be exact, he did rewrites of the original script by John Zuur Platten and Flint Dille . Aykroyd and Ramis mainly polished the tone of the dialogue and vernacular used. 
- During a debate about the Museum of (Super)Natural History Level , John Melchior called up Ramis for advice. At the time, Ramis was on the set of The Office directing an episode. 
- On page 12 of Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #1 , H. Ramis was listed as one of the authors of the technical report.
- In the Ghostbusters: Mass Hysteria hard cover collection, on page five, Ramis was referenced in Dan Aykroyd's introduction.
- In Ghostbusters: Get Real Issue #3 , page 14, an eight pin board in the Proton Pack is named after Ramis. 
- The bust was given to Erica Ramis, Harold's wife. She in turn gave it to the Ramis Film School at The Second City in Chicago. It resides in the bar. 
- Ramis' son Daniel Ramis has a cameo as the Metal Head who gives Rowan North a high five in Chapter 8 of the 2016 movie. 
- On page 215 of Ghosts from Our Past: Both Literally and Figuratively: The Study of the Paranormal (Three Rivers Press) , Harold Ramis was thanked in the acknowledgment section.
- Ramis is mentioned in the Introduction of Ghostbusters 101: Everyone Answers The Call TPB on page 2.
- On page 2 of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles/Ghostbusters Volume 2 Issue #3 , one of the Ghostbusturtles has the first name of Harold Ramis.
- On Cover B of Ghostbusters Crossing Over Issue #4 , the Harold Ramis bust from outside Dean Harold Filmore's office in the 2016 movie appears on the lower level.
- On page 1 of Ghostbusters Year One Issue #2 , Bob Douglas mentions pledging to Delta Tau Chi. This was the name of the fraternity in "Animal House" which was co-written by the late Harold Ramis and directed by Ivan Reitman.
- On page 4 of Ghostbusters Year One #2, Peter's hairstyle is based on Bill Murray's character Tripper in "Meatballs" (1979) which was directed by Reitman and co-written by Ramis. Egon's hairstyle is based on Ramis' character Russell in "Stripes" (1981) which was also directed by Reitman and co-written by Ramis.
References [ ]
- ↑ CNN 2/24/14
- ↑ Harold Ramis (1999). Ghostbusters - Commentary (1999) (DVD ts. 01:02:48-01:03:14). Columbia TriStar Home Video. Harold Ramis says: "Well, just for you acting buffs out there. I'd made a decision not to smile in this entire movie. That's about as close to a smile as I get. For you Spengler fans, he was described in the script as a New Age Mr. Spock. I tried to play him that way."
- ↑ Winston Zeddemore (2009). The Real Ghostbusters - " Take Two " (1986) (DVD ts. 06:20-06:24). Time Life Entertainment. Winston says: "Murray...Aykroyd...Ramis. What's that? A law firm?"
- ↑ Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Ghostbusters Revisited , Cinefex magazine #40, page 11. Cinefex, USA. Harold Ramis says: "The Scoleri brothers sequence was one of those nice discoveries. At one point we committed ourselves to having the Ghostbusters fight their way back to being Ghostbusters rather than starting out with them as successes. With this in mind, we were working toward a courtroom scene, but we did not know exactly what should happen there. Meanwhile, the ghosts themselves were very loosely based on the fact that my father was a storekeeper who was once robbed and assaulted by the Scoleri brothers. The whole point of our trial was that the legal system of New York was completely skeptical of the supernatural. At some point, the idea of the courtroom and the Scoleri brothers came together. We thought, what better way to reinstate the Ghostbusters than at the moment of their sentencing to have two ghosts appear in the courtroom? It was one of those nice discoveries that brings ideas together and says what you want to say. It also connected with the notion that negative human emotions have an impact. The judge is angry--a tyrant in his own courtroom--and he pays the price."
- ↑ Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Ghostbusters Revisited , Cinefex magazine #40, page 28-29. Cinefex, USA. Harold Ramis says: "The idea of having the baby out on the ledge was to offshoot of my having a baby walk like an adult. At one point, we were really considering doing that--but it would have involved either a stop-motion puppet or an adult in a baby suit. Neither of those approaches would have worked without it being in really dim light. As soon as Ivan thought about making a baby walk, he was not thrilled. It just seemed like too much--it made the baby too important."
- ↑ Eisenberg, Adam (November 1989). Ghostbusters Revisited , Cinefex magazine #40, page 42. Cinefex, USA. Ernie Hudson says: "The nice thing about Ghostbusters was that nobody held back, no matter what they were asked to do. Everybody was committed , having fun and giving one hundred percent. When we did the scene where we slide down the rope and landed in the restoration room, we had to go pretty high up in the rafters to slide down the rope. But Bill was there, Danny was there and so was Harold. That made it pretty hard not to commit. We were up there with our backpacks on, and I was thinking, 'Gee I don't know about this.' But Danny was all excited about it and Harold loved it so much that he went up and down five times."
- ↑ Spook Central "Ghostbusters Fan Fest - Ghostbusters: The Video Game Panel" 6:05-6:15 10/4/19 Panelist says: "So the first thing I did was fly to Chicago, uh, to talk to Harold and convince him. Then he was somewhat reluctant to do it, uh, until we talked to Dan. And then he was interested enough for us to approach Dan."
- ↑ Spook Central "Ghostbusters Fan Fest - Ghostbusters: The Video Game Panel" 6:29-6:37 10/4/19 Panelist says: "And then we went to The Office, uh, the set of The Office where Harold was directing an episode and we sat in the waiting room of The Office and we showed him the demo."
- ↑ New York Times "New Video Game? Who You Gonna Call?" 5/28/2009 Dan Aykroyd says: "They gave me the script. I took it. I rewrote it doing little tiny structural things, mostly bringing back the tone of the original dialogue and the vernacular - the terms, the idiom - but they really had it. Two-thirds of it was there. Then they gave it to Harold. He did the same thing."
- ↑ Playstation Blog "Inside the Development of Ghostbusters: The Video Game" 10/2/19 John Melchior says: "One time, there was a debate about the museum location. I called Harold, who was on the set of The Office directing an episode, and he called me back from his break to weigh in and provide guidance about what would best fit the world. Dan was also always there. He would regularly see the game and review the levels we were creating to see how they played into the canon of their creation."
- ↑ Ray Stantz (2015). IDW Comics - " Ghostbusters: Get Real Issue #3 " (2015) (Comic p.14). Ray says: "It was a snap once we upgraded the Ramis Boards from a six-pin to an eight!"
- ↑ paulfeig Tweet 11/27/16
- ↑ paulfeig Tweet 10/3/16 Paul Feig says: "He's the one who high fives Rowan outside the concert & says "Ozzy rocks!" That's Harold's son Daniel."
Gallery [ ]
Selected photos [ ].
Secondary Canon [ ]
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How ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ pulled off its tribute to Harold Ramis
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Warning: The following story contains plot spoilers for “Ghostbusters: Afterlife.” If you haven’t yet seen the film, we suggest reading the review and this feature on the collaboration between director Jason Reitman and his father, Ivan, instead. And then come back when you’ve seen it.
Going way back when he was an impressionable 6-year-old visiting the set of his father Ivan’s 1984 smash “Ghostbusters,” Jason Reitman’s favorite member of the team of proton-pack-wielding specter-catchers was always Egon Spengler.
So when Reitman decided three years ago to pick up the torch of the beloved franchise, he knew that he wanted to pay loving tribute to the man who had brought the bespectacled, socially awkward Egon to life: comedy legend Harold Ramis, who died in 2014 at age 69 from complications from inflammatory vasculitis.
Reitman and his co-writer Gil Kenan constructed the new film “Ghostbusters: Afterlife” around Spengler’s estranged family. Egon’s single-mom daughter (Carrie Coon) and her two children (Mckenna Grace and Finn Wolfhard) have inherited Egon’s decaying farmhouse in Oklahoma — and, as they soon discover, also unwittingly taken on his responsibility for keeping the world safe from malevolent spirits.
How Jason and Ivan Reitman crossed their creative streams to revive ‘Ghostbusters’
For father-and-son filmmakers Jason and Ivan Reitman, new sequel ‘Ghostbusters: Afterlife’ marks an emotional passing of the torch.
Nov. 18, 2021
Placing Egon at the heart of the film offered a way to bridge the ‘84 “Ghostbusters” — co-written by Ramis and Dan Aykroyd — with a new younger generation that hadn’t yet been born when the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man first terrorized New York. But with Ramis, who also directed such classic comedies as “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Groundhog Day,” no longer here, Reitman knew he needed to handle the character with great sensitivity.
“The film’s journey is very much about the Spenglers but it was also very personal for me,” says Reitman, who shared the script before shooting began with Ramis’ widow, Erica, and daughter Violet. “The question was how to be how to be really respectful to the character of Egon Spengler. The question that Gil and I would ask ourselves the most is: what would Harold think of this? And are we actually capturing the voice of Egon, particularly through his granddaughter, who is modeled after him?”
In the film’s final scenes, the ghost of Egon materializes to help his grandchildren and his original fellow Ghostbusters — played by Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson — beat back the ancient, god-like evil spirit Gozer. Before vanishing back into the ether, Egon, with just a kindly smile and not a word of dialogue, makes peace with his daughter and salutes his ghostbusting compatriots. As Egon’s ghost returns to the beyond, the dedication “For Harold” appears against the night sky.
Speaking to The Times before the film’s release, Reitman was hesitant to say too much about Egon’s appearance in the film’s climactic moments. “People have held on to that secret and it’s a real gift to us that people feel protective of it in the same way that we do,” he said.
For Aykroyd, shooting the film’s final sequence, knowing the character of Egon would be standing beside him once again via CGI, was very emotional.
“There would be no ‘Ghostbusters’ without Harold, without his brilliant writing and his frame of reference,” Aykroyd said. “It was deeply moving to play the scene because I loved him and I miss him. He was just so funny and intelligent. Harold was a genius from Second City all the way through his career. “
Having paid tribute to a key member of the franchise’s family and planted seeds for a new generation of ghostbusting, the film delivers a post-credits sequence that teases a potential next chapter ahead.
Back in New York, Hudson’s Winston, who is now a wealthy businessman, appears to have rekindled the old ghostbusting itch. As Winston enters the now-abandoned firehouse that served as the Ghostbusters’ headquarters and runs his hand across the Ecto-1, the camera pans to reveal the blinking red light of the spectral containment unit, suggesting there may soon be something strange in your neighborhood.
Speaking about the future of the “Ghostbusters” franchise, Reitman said there are already ideas cooking for a potential afterlife to “Afterlife.”
“I love these characters, and I love this world,” he said. “I want to see other filmmakers I love making ‘Ghostbusters’ movies. Every culture in the world has a unique relationship with the supernatural, and there’s opportunity for all those stories. ‘Ghostbusters’ has for many years sat dormant at Columbia, and we wanted to make a movie that set a foundation for all kinds of films. And I’d love to be involved in that.”
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How ghostbusters: afterlife brought back egon (& why it had to happen).
Ghostbusters: Afterlife deftly combines body double imaging and CG to bring back Egon in a fitting tribute to the late, great Harold Ramis.
Warning: Contains SPOILERS for Ghostbusters: Afterlife .
In a fitting tribute to both its franchise history and co-creator, Ghostbusters: Afterlife brings back Egon Spengler and overtly explains why it had to happen. Following an ambitious yet flawed 2016 reboot attempt, Ghostbusters: Afterlife wholeheartedly seeks to return the Ghostbusters movie franchise to its roots. As well as reintroducing classic ghostly villains in Gozer, Slimer, and the Stay-Pufts, Ghostbusters: Afterlife also reintegrates the original Ghostbusters team into its narrative, with Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, and even the late Harold Ramis eventually returning to thwart Gozer's plans.
The sequel Ghostbusters: Afterlife picks up thirty-seven years after the infamous "Manhattan Crossrip of '84," with founding Ghostbusters member Egon Spengler (a CG'd Harold Ramis) assaulted and killed by a spectral entity in his Summerville farmhouse. Callie (Carrie Coon), Egon's estranged daughter, and her two children subsequently move into the abandoned Spengler property, where they become acquainted with their family's Ghost-busting roots in time to combat the return of their patriarch's old enemy: the ancient eldritch being Gozer. With the help of their grandfather's ghost, the Spengler grandchildren manage to imprison Gozer and his apocalyptic minions within their traps before Spengler's spirit poignantly passes into the afterlife (even setting up a sequel with the Afterlife post-credits scene) .
Related: Ghostbusters: Afterlife Cast, Character & Cameo Guide
Harold Ramis' untimely death in February 2014 originally forced the Ghostbusters franchise to change tactics at the time, with a then untitled and overdue Ghostbusters 3 movie sequel repurposed by Paul Feig as a female-driven reboot. The poor reception to Ghostbusters 2016 prompted a reexamination of the franchise; however, with original Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman's son, Jason, stepping in to produce a nostalgia-driven sequel to the original two Ghostbusters movies. Ghostbusters: Afterlife , therefore, is packed with callbacks and references to the original Ghostbusters movies, with the most poignant being the film's "For Harold" tribute that includes two posthumous appearances from Ramis. Here's how Ghostbusters: Afterlife brought back Egon and why it had to happen.
How Ghostbusters: Afterlife Brought Harold Ramis Back
In Ghostbusters: Afterlife , Harold Ramis' Egon Spengler is first seen attempting to outrun and trap Gozer in the opening sequence before ultimately being killed by an insidious mist that prompts his heart to fail. Although it is clear that the older man in the scene is undoubtedly Spengler, the character's face is permanently obscured, allowing the Ghostbusters: Afterlife effects team to use a body double (Oliver Cooper) and some neat makeup work to recreate the legendary Ramis on-screen. Ghostbusters: Afterlife then revels in the assumption that this opening scene may be the extent of Spengler's appearance, only for the final battle in the film to see the original Ghostbusters appear to battle Gozer before Spengler's ghost materializes to help his granddaughter Phoebe (McKenna Grace) banish the entity once and for all.
Whereas Spengler's first appearance is the stuff of smoke and mirrors, Egon's contribution in the penultimate scene of Ghostbusters: Afterlife is undoubtedly powered by Harold Ramis' likeness. Ghostbusters: Afterlife revives Ramis for its climactic battle via archival clips and photos taken from the original two films, showcasing the very best that cutting-edge CG has to offer in 2021. These clips are layered over a body double to create a likeness to Ramis physically before the Egon image stills are then tweaked based on photos from the 1984 and 1989 Ghostbusters installments to sharpen his distinct features.
Ghostbusters: Afterlife Finally Did Posthumous CG Right
The posthumous CG used by Ghostbusters: Afterlife is undoubtedly one of the towering successes of Jason Reitman's film. Not only is Egon Spengler's ghost in the film an almost perfect replication of Ramis' physical features, but Ghostbusters: Afterlife also handles (and explains) the return of a deceased actor's character with the utmost care and sensitivity. Spengler doesn't speak at any point in the film, with Reitman instead allowing other characters to deliver his final message before Egon disappears into the ether.
Related: Ghostbusters Afterlife: Who Played Ivo Shandor - Cameo Explained
This decision to keep Egon's ghost silent and allow his mere presence to impact the film's narrative ensures Ghostbusters: Afterlife retains the emotional impact Ramis' return should have. Far too many modern productions opt to have their CG'd stars speak, such as in The Rise of Skywalker , which utilized limited sound archives to create cohesive dialogue for Princess Leia (the late Carrie Fisher). However, the result was jarring interactions between the CG'd Leia and the new crop of Star Wars characters that felt shoe-horned into the film for the sake of Fisher's memory. Ghostbusters: Afterlife circumvents these issues by keeping Egon silent, and therefore allowing his memory (and subsequent emotional credits-scene tribute) to say more than the 1984 Ghostbusters sound archives ever could.
Why The Egon Ghost Was Perfect For Ghostbusters: Afterlife
The return of Egon's ghost sews up several story threads for Ghostbusters: Afterlife while also creating a wholly fitting tribute for the late Harold Ramis. The decision to scrap the original Ghostbusters 3 plans following Ramis' death always appeared ill-conceived by Sony, with the resulting Ghostbusters 2016 reboot considered a commercial flop as it attempted to rewrite so much of the classic Ghostbusters canon. Jason Reitman and the returning Ghostbusters stars from the 1980s clearly understand the 2016 film's shortcomings, with Ghostbusters: Afterlife instead laden with nostalgic callbacks and Easter eggs for Ghostbusters fans to enjoy.
More significant, however, is how Ghostbusters: Afterlife poignantly makes Egon's ghostly appearance the zenith of the film's action. Egon quite literally appears from and returns to the afterlife, which points to the reasoning behind the film's final name as he saves his family from destruction. Egon's return also delivers a heartfelt tribute to Harold Ramis, whose original 1984 co-stars were all convinced to return to a new Ghostbusters project after reading Gil Kenan and Reitman's nostalgia-driven script. This undercurrent of emotion is evident at the end of Ghostbusters: Afterlife as the camera pans up towards the sky before the screen fades to black and the words "For Harold" appear on the left-hand side of the screen.
Using Egon's ghost as the final building block for Gozer's (an uncredited Olivia Wilde) defeat also essentially hands the Ghostbusters franchise back to its fans following the uproar regarding the 2016 reboot. Ramis and Aykroyd's original 1984 Ghostbusters still commands a substantial following to this day, with Ghostbusters 2016 removing all of the Ramis-inspired elements that Ghostbusters is fundamentally built upon. In this way, the Egon ghost is the perfect finale to Ghostbusters: Afterlife as it successfully celebrates Harold Ramis' genius, the continuation of the Spengler legacy, and the reintegration of the original Ghostbusters team into the franchise all in one fell swoop.
Next: Ghostbusters: Afterlife Ending & All Hidden Meanings Explained