Never before have I been tasked with writing a goodbye to a person of celebrity-status. Never before have I even considered writing such a thing. Celebrity deaths have never been of much interest to me; how does it matter anymore than when a “regular” person dies. As a person who doesn’t much care when said regular people die either, you can see why something like this would normally fall outside my purview.
Then shortly after I awoke this morning I came upon the news that Harold Ramis, one of the most successful filmmakers in the realm of comedy, had died. I found myself sitting at my desk for a solid five minutes unable to function, unable to think clearly. Harold Ramis, the man who directed three of the greatest comedies of all time in National Lampoon’s Vacation, Caddyshack, and Groundhog Day, the man who wrote, or was a member of the writers of National Lampoon’s Animal House, Stripes, and frelling Ghostbusters, how was this man dead? Holy shit, how could he possibly be dead?
Harold Ramis is obviously also known for playing Dr. Egon Spengler in the classic Ghostbusters films; a film close to the hearts of most every film fan out there. Personally, I didn’t see Ghostbusters for the first time until maybe six years ago — I know, I’m the worst person in history; I get this a lot — but still, even at 23 or so years old it still had a profound impact on me. It didn’t hurt that despite my non-viewing of the film during my childhood, I was still acutely aware of its existence. Hell, I’ve always known the name “Egon”, granted that was in part because of the cartoon series which I caught now and again as a child. That is when I wasn’t terrified, huddling behind a pillow. (Look, I was an easily startled child; no I’m not proud of it.)
Even if I was unaware of Ghostbusters in of itself, I was still aware of Harold Ramis. His was one of the first names I learned in the realm of “behind the scenes people” for films. One of my parents even dragged me along to see Analyze This in my early teens simply due to the fact that Ramis was directing the film. In my early adulthood I remember watching Knocked Up in theaters and laughing, maybe silently cheering, when Ramis showed up as the father of Seth Rogan’s character. Hell, it was the only thing I honestly enjoyed about that movie, due in part to the fact that I somehow thought Ramis had died years earlier; a memory that is doubly painful now.
If you’ve made it through this slightly rambling memorial, I thank you. The truth is that like many of you, Harold Ramis held a special place in my heart, one that will not be easy to fill. I know many people are now saddened because they feel it puts a final nail in the coffin that is Ghostbusters III, but the truth is that we should be further saddened for other projects the man may have had running around his mind.
If anyone needs me I’ll be sitting on the couch, struggling to decide which of his films I wish to watch today.
For further thoughts on Harold Ramis, we provide you some thoughts from Twitter:
If a Twinkie represents amount of grief I feel when someone dies, Harold Ramis' death would be a Twinkie 35 feet long weighing 600 pounds.
— Patton Oswalt (@pattonoswalt) February 24, 2014
Harold Ramis, dead at 69. Exhibit #984,225,642,095,423 in the case that I'm an asshole.
— God (@TheTweetOfGod) February 24, 2014
If you're my age and got into comedy, Harold Ramis was one of the reasons. Life is fast and over too soon.
— Zach Braff (@zachbraff) February 24, 2014
There are many more thoughts on his passing out there, and of course there’s your own. Please feel free to share yours in the comments below.