"I collect spores, molds, and fungus." —Dr. Egon Spengler, Ghostbusters
Harold Ramis, who wrote and directed some of the best comedy films of the genre's golden years, has passed away at the age of 69, The Chicago Tribune reports. Though Ramis was most well-known for his movies, including Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and National Lampoon's Vacation, his early years as a comedy mastermind were forged on the legendary Canadian sketch show SCTV, which he wrote for and performed on.
As it did for many of his SCTV costars, the Canadian show would springboard Ramis to Hollywood, where he wrote and/or directed Animal House, Meatballs, Back to School, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Groundhog Day, and Analyze This. As an actor, he played geeky characters such as Ghostbusters' Dr. Egon Spengler and Stripes' Russell Ziskey. Ramis's influence on comedy today cannot be overestimated.
Ramis died of complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis early this morning.