7 Things You Didn’t Know About Ghostbuster’s Harold Ramis

Harold Ramis was an American actor, writer, and director who was known for his roles in the first two Ghostbusters movies, where he played the genius Egon Spengler opposite Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd. Alongside starring in the movie, Ramis also penned the scripts with Aykroyd. With the success of the Ghostbuster franchise, Ramis went on to become a well known name in the movie industry.

Ramis also directed Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, and National Lampoon’s Vacation, to name a few, cementing himself a notable filmmaker in the comedy genre. What’s interesting about Ramis, is that his life beyond the screen was just as exciting. Below is a list of seven fun facts from Harold Ramis’ life that every fan should know.

7. Harold Ramis Once Worked As A Joke Writer For Playboy magazine

harold ramis in ghostbusters

During his time working as a substitute teacher in Chicago, Harold Ramis also worked as a freelance writer for Chicago Daily News. One day, he decided to submit a sample of his work to the said publication, in the Arts & Leisure section, and just like that, he was in. Building his portfolio from there, he then called Playboy and asked if they had an open position, and after receiving an affirmative response, he presented his writing samples from the Chicago Daily News, and there his writing career with Playboy began. He would go on to become a joke editor, and later associate editor, for the magazine. During the time with Playboy, he had already been performing with Chicago’s Second City comedy troupe.

6. He Was Once A Mental Ward Orderly

After graduating from Washington University in St. Louis, and before his career as a teacher, writer and editor, Ramis he worked as an orderly in a psychiatric hospital in St. Louis. Inside the facility, he learned to live with people suffering from intense emotions. He also appreciated the fact that they enjoyed his company, and there were even a few who joked with him that he would do well in Hollywood. Needless to say, that was a good inspiration for the actor.

5. He Avoided Being Drafted Into The Vietnam War By Sabotaging His Health

bill murray and harold ramis in caddyshack

During the Vietnam war, Harold Ramis was eligible for the military draft. However, when the time came, he realized he did want to fight in the war. According to the entertainer, he sabotaged his health declaration forms by ticking every box that represented any form of illness – be it mental or physical, and even ticked the boxes for drugs. He also allegedly took meth before his physical examination just in case. He successfully avoided the draft after he failed his physical exam.

4. Barack Obama Paid Tributes To Him After His Death

Harold Ramis passed away on the 24th of February, 2014, at the age of 69. The day after Ramis died, the U.S. President at that time, Barack Obama, released a statement honoring the filmmaker. In his statement, Obama revealed he was a fan of Ramis’ movies, not just because they were very funny, but because they had an after-effect on him that made him “question authority”  and made him never lose faith in happy endings. He then expressed his condolences to the bereaved family and to those who had loved Ramis.

3. Harold Ramis Appeared in Four Movies With Bill Murray

bill murray, harold ramis and dan aykroyd in ghostbusters

Harold Ramis and Bill Murray became friends at Chicago’s Second City. Their careers and friendship will grow, and the two would go on to appear in several films together. The four films where they appeared together are Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), and Groundhog Day (1993) – the latter would tear a rip in their friendship.

2. Groundhog Day Ended Harold Ramis’ Relationship With Bill Murray

Groundhog Day is probably one of the most iconic comedy films; however, it would be the last film Murray and Ramis worked on together. It is worth noting that the movie did not deliberately cause the destruction of their friendship, but rather, what ended it is how the two tried to handle each other. Murray was undergoing a divorce and was irritable, making him quite difficult to “maneuver” or even be communicated with. As a result, Ramis reportedly ended their friendship.

1. Awards And Recognition

7 Things You Didn’t Know About Ghostbuster’s Harold Ramis

Throughout his life and after, Harold Ramis was distinguished with several awards. His most notable awards include the Distinguished Screenwriter Award in the 2005 Austin Film Festival. In 2004, he was also inducted into the St. Louis Walk of Fame. After his death, he was awarded the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement by the Writers’ Guild of America. For his work on Groundhog Day, Ramis bagged the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay, alongside Danny Rubin. His awards, recognition, and filmography all point to his lasting legacy in the entertainment industry.

READ NEXT: A Compilation of Great Scenes from the Movie Groundhog Day

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