Harold Allen Ramis was an American actor, writer and director who specialized in comedy. His best-known film acting roles are as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters (1984) and Russell Ziskey in Stripes (1981). His film works include the comedies Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon’s Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day (1993), and Analyze This (1999). Ramis was the original head writer of the television series SCTV (on which he also performed), and one of three screenwriters for the film National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978). He was the original writer for SCTV during its first three years from 1976-1979. Ramis was offered to write skits for Saturday Night Live but he declined to remain with SCTV. He eventually left SCTV to pursue a movie career wrote a script with National Lampoon magazine’s Douglas Kenney which would eventually become National Lampoon’s Animal House. They were later joined by a third collaborator on the script, Chris Miller. The 1978 film followed the struggle between a rowdy college fraternity house and the college dean. Fellow SCTV cast member John Belushi was given the role of John “Bluto” Blutarsky in the film. Current star of FOX’s psychological thriller “The Following” Kevin Bacon had a minor role as smarmy Omega pledge Chip Diller. The film’s humor was raunchy for its time. Animal House “broke all box-office records for comedies” and earned $141 million. Ramis later co-wrote the film Meatballs which starred Bill Murray. This would be the first of six collaborations between them. Next was Caddyshack which featured Murray as the loveable grounds keeper. Chevy Chase, Rodney Dangerfield and Ted Knight also starred in the film. Like Animal House, both films went on to be commercial successes.Ramis’ big break come in 1984 when he collaborated with Dan Aykroyd to create the biggest comedy hit of that year, Ghostbusters. Though his previous works became classics, Ghostbusters is a film that will stand the test of time, featuring an incredible cast including Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, Annie Potts, Rick Moranis and himself in his most memorable role as Dr. Egon Spengler. The film became a cultural phenomenon and an instant classic. The American Film Institute ranked it 28th in its list of the top 100 comedies of all time (in their 100 Years… 100 Laughs list), and nominated it for its lists of the 100 greatest movies in 1998 and 2007 and the 100 most heart-pounding movies (in AFI’s 100 Years…100 Thrills). The film would soon hit the small screen afterward in the animated series “The Real Ghostbusters” which ran from 1986-1991. The series furthered the adventures of Egon Spangler, Raymond Stantz, Peter Venkman and Winston Zeddmore as they bust ghosts in New York City. Ramis and Aykroyd were not involved with the series or its conception. Nevertheless, it would go on to become one of the best cartoon series of the eighties. Following the success of the film and animated series, Columbia Pictures pushed for a sequel. Ramis and Aykroyd, reluctant at first, would come together again for the sequel Ghostbusters II. The supernatural comedy would generate an impressive fan base. Go to any convention, be it Comic-Con, Otakon or any other and there will be several people dressed in Ghostbusters gear complete with proton packs and ghost traps.
With Ghostbusters, Ramis would give all of geek kind an icon in the form of Dr. Egon Spengler. He would be best remembered for this role. Egon is the brains of the Ghostusters’ outfit and a bit of a sugar addict according to the film. The character of Egon Spengler was named after Oswald Spengler and a classmate of Ramis’ at Senn High School named Egon Donsbach who was a Hungarian refugee. Fans young and old alike will remember Egon and his explanation about a Twinkie.
The Twinkie Theory
Celebrate Harold Ramis and the rest of the Ghostbusters cast with the best lines from the films.