Harold Ramis profile

Harold Ramis filming "The Ice Harvest"

Harold Ramis

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ALSO! Check out our interview with the actor/writer/director.

Mention the name Harold Ramis to Joe Sixpack, and, mostly likely, he’ll offer you a blank look before reaching for another Pabst Blue Ribbon. If, however, you mention that he was one of the Ghostbusters…and then, of course, clarify that he was the one who wasn’t Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray, or “the black guy” (poor Ernie Hudson; all those films and TV shows he’s done, and he’s still only remembered as “the black Ghostbuster”)…finally, the light bulb of Ramis recognition will flicker on.

Yes, Harold Ramis is Dr. Egon Spengler.

It’s no surprise that Ramis’s most notable role is that of a scientist; in his high school yearbook, he indicated that his dream was to be a neurosurgeon, then went to Washington University in St. Louis to study organic chemistry. It wasn’t until Ramis got married, moved to Chicago, and joined the famed Second City comedy troupe in 1969 that he finally began down the road to fulfilling his comedic destiny. He actually bailed out of the group for a few years, returning in 1972 to meet one of the new guys: a fellow named John Belushi. Belushi really liked having Ramis as a straight man, so he invited him along to New York City to work on “The National Lampoon Radio Hour,” a move which led Ramis to write the script for “Animal House.” From there, Ramis helped define the face of comedy in the ‘70s and ‘80s, writing, directing, and starring in films from “Caddyshack” and “Stripes” to “Vacation” and the aforementioned “Ghostbusters.” His acting roles have been limited to not much more than cameos in recent years, but his work behind the camera – directing “Groundhog Day,” “Analyze This” and “Analyze That,” “Multiplicity,” “Bedazzled,” and “The Ice Harvest” – have kept him more than busy enough.

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Harold on the Web

Everyone’s favorite entertainment database provides as close to an accurate résumé for Ramis as you’re likely to find…

…at least, until this site goes live. (As of this writing, the sum total of its content is a photo of Ramis and the following sentence: “Welcome to Harold Ramis' personal web site -- come back soon to find out what he's looking at in the picture above, and lots more information too.”)

Ramis’ entry on “the free encyclopedia.”

Rotten Tomatoes
Ramis is currently holding at 54% rotten. Let’s hope that next film doesn’t cause him to drop below the halfway mark.

The New Yorker
You’ll be hard pressed to find a more in-depth look at Ramis’ career online. It reveals the highly depressing fact that Ramis and Murray have barely spoken to each other since making “Groundhog Day” together.

Harold on the Screen and Behind the Camera

Harold’s first script was “Animal House,” which is a hell of a way to get your feet wet. Then again, so is having your directorial debut listed as “Caddyshack” and making your acting debut in “Stripes.” (Plus, he wrote the former and co-wrote the latter.) Despite major roles in “Ghostbusters,” “Ghostbusters II,” and “Baby Boom,” plus a few smaller parts along the way (“As Good As It Gets,” “Orange County,” “Airheads”), he’s stayed behind the camera for the most part, helming such comedy classics as “Groundhog Day,” “Analyze This,” and, uh, “Stuart Saves His Family.” His most recent film, “The Ice Harvest,” isn’t exactly what you’d think of as a typical Ramis picture, but, c’mon, don’t try and paint the guy into a corner. He’s a man of many facets, our Harold.

From the Mouth fo Harold

On the business:
“I have no trouble selling out – I’m a benevolent hack, in a certain way – but I want to pander for something I believe in.”

On booze:
“I never had a problem with alcoholism – of all the things, that was never my issue — but I knew some really outstanding alcoholics.”

On Bill Murray:
“(Bill Murray) defines quirky; he is the most fascinating and talented pain in the ass we know.”

On Chicago:
“In Los Angeles, Steven Spielberg walks in and you’re nothing. Here (in Chicago), there’s nobody better than me. There’s a few Bulls around, and the Cusacks, but, basically, I’m it!”