Comedian, writer, actor Harold Ramis dies at 69

BY Victoria Fleischer  February 24, 2014 at 2:22 PM EST
Actors Bill Murray and Harold Ramis star in the film 'Stripes' in 1981. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Actors Bill Murray and Harold Ramis star in the film ‘Stripes’ in 1981. Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Harold Ramis, an actor, writer and director who inspired a generation of comedic performers and filmmakers with movies like “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes,” died of a rare autoimmune disease early Monday morning.

Raised in Chicago, Ramis was the head writer for and a performer in the sketch TV show Second City Television in the late 1970s. He got his big break in the movie industry writing “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” followed by “Caddyshack,” “Groundhog Day,” and “Analyze This,” among others, all of which he directed and co-wrote.

Judd Apatow, Peter Farrelly and Adam Sandler have claimed Ramis as an influence.

“It is the most fun you can have and actually be paid for it,” Ramis told the NewsHour in 2009, “sitting around a table with the funniest people you know and trying to make each other laugh.”

Listen to the whole conversation below:

Harold Ramis was 69.

For more on the influential comedian, you can read a profile of Harold Ramis written by the New Yorker in 2004.