Comedy Legend Harold Ramis Dies At Age 69

by Maitri Suhas

There's sad news today about one of our nation's greatest comedic minds. Harold Ramis died Monday at age 69. The beloved Chicago native, whose movies like Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day have immortalized him forever in the comedy world, passed away in his North Shore home in the early morning on Feb. 24. Ramis long suffered an autoimmune disease and, according to his wife Erica Mann Ramis, after a surgery in 2010, he lost his ability to walk. He then relearned how to use his legs and he continued to write and direct, his final film being Year One in 2009.

Though he was living and working in Los Angeles where he became a huge comedic success with the likes of Caddyshack and National Lampoons' Animal House, Ramis moved his family home to Chicago in 1996. He said of his cherished Midwestern hometown: “There’s a pride in what I do that other people share because I’m local, which in L.A. is meaningless; no one’s local... It’s a good thing. I feel like I represent the city in a certain way.”

And he certainly did. Ramis got his start in 1969 with Second City, and the former founder of the famed improv group Bernie Sahlins noted Ramis never got a big ego from the glitz of his success: “He’s the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self." Ramis leaves behind a body of comedy gold, and a conspicous absence in Chicago and in Hollywood. He'll always have us asking: what about the Twinkie?