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Harold Ramis, Actor, Writer And Director, Dead At 69

By Lisa White in Arts & Entertainment on Feb 24, 2014 5:50PM

(Harold Ramis courtesy of Shutterstock)
Actor, writer and director Harold Ramis passed away early this morning at 12:53 a.m. due to complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels. He was 69.

Ramis, a Chicago native, is best known as an actor for his rolls as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters and Russell Ziskey in Stripes. Ramis had a long history of writing, directing and producing some truly memorable works, including Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Analyze This, Ghostbusters (co-written with Dan Aykroyd) as well as co-writing National Lampoon's Animal House, amongst many other credits. He was part of Second City, eventually returning after an absences to become the deadpan foil to John Belushi in the early 70s, and was the head writer when SCTV first began. More recently, he directed multiple episodes of NBC's The Office. Ramis, a long time North Shore resident who moved his production company from LA back to Highland Park years ago, was an avid Cubs fan as well.

His work had a touch of goofball sense of humor to it but always possessed a deeper layer of meaning underneath. A good laugh with some thought behind it. The Chicago Tribune has a beautiful tribute to him up now. The New Yorker did a wonderful piece on his work in 2004 as well, a great read for today in his honor. His wife, Erica Mann Ramis, announced that a private service is planned for this week and a public memorial in Chicago will likely take place in May.

Here are some favorite clips from his accomplished career to enjoy in remembrance:

"That's a big Twinkie."

"Don't cross the streams. It would be bad."

Ramis speaking to Letterman about National Lampoon's Vacation in 1983: