Obama Says Harold Ramis Comedies Taught Him to Question Authority

This city is headed for a disaster of biblical proportions. 

Mayor: What do you mean, "biblical"?

Dr Ray Stantz: What he means is Old Testament, Mr. Mayor, real wrath of God type stuff. 

Dr. Peter Venkman: Exactly. 

Dr Ray Stantz: Fire and brimstone coming down from the skies! Rivers and seas boiling! 

Dr. Egon Spengler: Forty years of darkness! Earthquakes, volcanoes... 

Winston Zeddemore: The dead rising from the grave! 

Dr. Peter Venkman: Human sacrifice, dogs and cats living together... mass hysteria! 

Mayor: All right, all right! I get the point! 

No Dr. Egon Spengler was not talking about Obamacare, nor the city of Detroit, he was talking about the arrival of menacing ghosts and gnarly, gooey slime that was stirring up a whole bunch of negativity in NYC in the Harold Ramis classic Ghostbusters. Dr. Egon Spengler aka Harold Ramis left us on Monday, and we will miss his wonderful wit and his comic genius. He died at 12:53 a.m. of complications from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, said his wife, Erica Mann Ramis.

Ramis leaves behind a formidable list of achievements, with writing credits on such enduring comedies as National Lampoon's Animal House (which upon its 1978 release catapulted the film career of John Belushi, with whom Ramis acted at Second City), Stripes (1981) and Ghostbusters (in which Ramis also co-starred), plus such directing efforts as Caddyshack (1980), National Lampoon's Vacation (1983), Groundhog Day and Analyze This (1999).

The late founder of the Chicago Comedy Ensemble Second City TV, Bernie Sahlins, who began working with Ramis in 1969, once said of Ramis, “He's the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self…He's had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head.”

Judd Apatow, comic writer and  director of The 40 Year Old Virgin and Knocked Up, paid tribute to Ramis saying, “When I was 15, I interviewed Harold for my high school radio station, and he was the person that I wanted to be when I was growing up, his work is the reason why so many of us got into comedy. We grew up on ‘Second City TV' and ‘Ghostbusters,' ‘Vacation,' ‘Animal House,' ‘Stripes,' ‘Meatballs’. He literally made every single one of our favorite movies.”

President Obama paid tribute to Ramis’ movies, saying that he and Michelle were “saddened” about his passing and said that when they watched his movies they “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. Our thoughts and prayers are with Harold’s wife, Erica, his children and grandchildren, and all those who loved him, who quote his work with abandon, and who hope that he received total consciousness.”


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