Harold Ramis' death has likely left many of us feeling a mixture of sadness and fond amusement as we grieve but also remember some of his best work in comedy. For those of us who grew up believing that regular scientists could achieve superhero status with the right equipment on their backs, Ramis' face may be best associated with his role as Egon Spengler in Ghostbusters, and it's that film that MegaCynics referenced in their cartoon to pay tribute to Ramis...
The picture shows a ghosty Harold Ramis hovering over the ghost trap, while the other three wave goodbye. One stands just inches away from the pedal on the floor that would shut the trap. Ray, Pete and Winston look sad, but I like that there's a small smile on Egon's face.
Among the other fans reacting to Ramis' death is President Obama himself, who -- according to NBC News -- issued a statement reacting to the actor/director's passing, stating that Ramis was one of America's greatest satirist and a proud product of Chicago's Second City. He went on to specify some of the movies he and First Lady Michelle Obama remember best...
When we watched his movies -- from 'Animal House' and 'Caddyshack' to 'Ghostbusters' and 'Groundhog Day' -- we didn't just laugh until it hurt. We questioned authority. We identified with the outsider. We rooted for the underdog. And through it all, we never lost our faith in happy endings.
Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman and Ramis' co-star Dan Aykroyd's statements were shared by EW. Of Ramis' passing, Aykroyd said he was "Deeply saddened to hear of the passing of my brilliant, gifted, funny friend, co-writer/performer and teacher Harold Ramis. May he now get the answers he was always seeking."
Ramis not only starred in Ghostbusters, but he also co-wrote it. Reitman spoke fondly of Ramis' ability to understand what was funny.
He possessed the most agile mind I’ve ever witnessed. He always had the clearest sense of what was funny and how to create something in a new clever way. He was very generous about making everyone around him look better and smarter. Harold had an extraordinary impact on my career and I loved him like a brother. My heart goes out to his children, and his lovely wife, Erica. He will be profoundly missed.
Ernie Hudson told TMZ that "Harold was the glue. There wouldn't be a Ghostbusters without Harold Ramis. Harold pulled it together. And I know I wouldn't probably be in the business, had I not had the chance to work with Harold at that time in my career. He taught me a lot." Hudson went on to say that there "Can't be another Ghostbusters without Harold."
And then there's Bill Murray's statement -- via Time -- in which he cites some of the projects they did together (Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day among them) and goes on to say, "He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him."
It's a simple statement, but it says a lot.
I like to think that making someone laugh from the heart leaves an imprint on them, and if that's true then Harold Ramis' contributions to this world run a bit deeper than simply making his mark on cinema history. He affected people, and that kind of contribution is lasting. As someone who grew up watching his movies, I have no doubt that some of my sense of humor was shaped by films like Groundhog Day and Ghostbusters, so I'm especially grateful for what Ramis gave us, and I know I'm not alone. You can read Sean O'Connell's tribute to Ramis here.
Our thoughts go out to Ramis' friends and family in their time of loss.