The late Harold Ramis did so much more than make us laugh, as the outpouring of love following his death proved.
As soon as news of began to spread yesterday of Ramis' death at the age of 69, his friends, colleagues and fans began to very publicly pay their respects, and a picture began to form of how the world sees his legacy. To many, Ramis was a guy who made us laugh, but to those who knew him, and to students of his work, he was something more. He was a trailblazer, a visionary, a comedic genius who altered his art form forever through writing, directing and acting. Harold Ramis wasn't just a funny man; he was an icon.
Before we get to all the love Ramis has received on Twitter, though, we wanted to highlight a couple of noteworthy non-Twitter tributes. Earlier today, the president of the United States released a statement in tribute to Ramis, and finished it with a quote from Caddyshack, one of the many classic films Ramis directed and co-wrote.
"Michelle and I were saddened to hear of the passing of Harold Ramis, one of America’s greatest satirists, and like so many other comedic geniuses, a proud product of Chicago’s Second City. When we watched his movies – from 'Animal House' and 'Caddyshack' to 'Ghostbusters' and 'Groundhog Day' – we 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."
Two of Ramis' most famous collaborators also released statements outside of Twitter that are definitely worth mentioning. First, we hear from Bill Murray, via Time.
“Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon Show off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him.”
We also heard from Ivan Reitman (via EW), who worked with Ramis on, among other things, Meatballs, Stripes and Ghostbusters.
“The world has lost a wonderful, truly original, comedy voice with the passing of Harold Ramis,” Reitman said. “He possessed the most agile mind I’ve ever witnessed. He always had the clearest sense of what was funny and how to create something in a new clever way. He was very generous about making everyone around him look better and smarter. Harold had an extraordinary impact on my career and I loved him like a brother. My heart goes out to his children, and his lovely wife, Erica. He will be profoundly missed.”
And now we turn to Twitter. Thousands of fans and friends paid tribute to Ramis via the site in the hours following his death, but to illustrate just how big of an impact he had on his art form, we wanted to show you a select few from those he worked with and those he influenced. Check out the gallery below to see thoughts about Harold Ramis from comedians, writers, directors, actors and film critics who all consider him a legend.