Ghostbusters Director Ivan Reitman Is Dead At 75

Ivan Reitman interview Ghostubsters Afterlife
(Image credit: CinemaBlend)

After a long career out of making audiences laugh so hard they would fall out of their chairs – directing and producing films like Ghostbusters and Animal House – filmmaker Ivan Reitman has passed away at the age of 75. The news has been confirmed by his family that he died peacefully in his home in Montecito, CA on Saturday night.

The Associated Press received an official statement from Ivan Reitman's children, Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman and Caroline Reitman, announcing the filmmaker's death. The message states that the family is in mourning, but taking solace in reflecting on the happiness that he made so many people feel during his lifetime:

Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life. We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world. While we mourn privately, we hope those who knew him through his films will remember him always.

Ivan Reitman directed his first feature film, Foxy Lady starring Alan Gordon, in 1971, but his first big breakout hit came in 1978 when he produced National Lampoon's Animal House – a movie that to this day is considered a college comedy classic. A year later he directed his first movie starring Bill Murray, the summer camp-set Meatballs, and in the next five years he directed two more features with the star: 1981's Stripes and, of course, the great 1984 horror comedy Ghostbusters.

All three initial collaborations between Ivan Reitman and Murray were successful, but Ghostbusters was far and away the biggest blockbuster smash of the filmmaker's career – earning $297 million worldwide. He continued to make hit after hit through the 1980s and into the 1990s, directing Legal Eagles starring Robert Redford; Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Junior and Twins with Arnold Schwarzenegger; Dave with Kevin Kline; and Ghostbusters II featuring the return of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and others as their characters from the original film.

The last movie that Ivan Retman directed was 2014's Draft Day, but he has been active in the years since as a producer. Most recently he had a hands-on role in the making of Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was directed by his son, Jason Reitman, and has been a big box office hit since it was released last November.

Ivan Reitman will be forever remembered as one of the most successful filmmakers to ever work in the comedy genre, and the impact that he made on the industry is permanent and will never be forgotten. Our thoughts go out to his family, friends, and fans around the globe after such a great loss – and we hope that everyone honors the filmmakers memory by watching or rewatching at least one of his amazing classics.

Eric Eisenberg
Assistant Managing Editor

NJ native who calls LA home and lives in a Dreamatorium. A decade-plus CinemaBlend veteran who is endlessly enthusiastic about the career he’s dreamt of since seventh grade.