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Harold Ramis

As a key contributor to the American comedy scene for over three decades, Harold Ramis has made people laugh through his writing, acting, and directing - and often a combination thereof - on some of the most successful screen comedies of all time.

Born in Chicago, Mr. Ramis received a bachelor's degree from Washington University in St. Louis (and returned there in 1993 to receive an honorary Doctorate in Arts). He got his start in comedy in 1969, at Chicago's famed Second City improvisational theater troupe, while still employed as associate editor at Playboy.

In 1974, he moved to New York to be a writer/performer on The National Lampoon Show, starring onstage with fellow Second City graduates John Belushi, Gilda Radner, and Bill Murray. He then joined the legendary comedy series SCTV, becoming head writer and starring in the shows, playing (among many other characters) hapless station manager Moe Green.

Mr. Ramis' Hollywood breakthrough came when he co-wrote (with Doug Kenney and Chris Miller) the blockbuster 1978 comedy National Lampoon's Animal House, directed by John Landis and produced by Ivan Reitman. He would reteam with the latter on a string of boxoffice smashes, as screenwriter of Meatballs, Stripes, Ghostbusters, and Ghostbusters II. All of those films were directed by Ivan Reitman and starred Bill Murray, with Mr. Ramis also starring in the latter three.

Mr. Ramis made his directorial debut on another comedy classic, Caddyshack, which he also co-wrote (with Doug Kenney and Brian Doyle-Murray). The film starred Chevy Chase, Bill Murray, and Rodney Dangerfield.

His next film as director was the smash National Lampoon's Vacation, which starred Chevy Chase, Beverly D'Angelo, and The Ice Harvest costar Randy Quaid. The film spawned several sequels.

Mr. Ramis next directed and co-wrote Club Paradise, starring Robin Williams and Peter O'Toole; and co-wrote and executive-produced Back to School, starring Rodney Dangerfield and directed by Alan Metter.

Aside from films that he has written and/or directed, Mr. Ramis has acted in such movies as Charles Shyer's Baby Boom, Steven Kampmann and Will Aldis' Stealing Home, Glenn Gordon Caron's Love Affair, James L. Brooks' Academy Award-winning As Good As It Gets, and Jake Kasdan's Orange County.

Mr. Ramis directed, produced and co-wrote the acclaimed comedy hit Groundhog Day, starring Bill Murray and Andie MacDowell. He next directed Stuart Saves His Family, starring and written by Al Franken; directed and produced Multiplicity, starring Michael

Keaton and Andie MacDowell; and directed, co-wrote, and produced Bedazzled, starring Brendan Fraser and Elizabeth Hurley.

He directed and co-wrote the blockbuster Analyze This, starring Robert De Niro and Billy Crystal, and subsequently reteamed with the two actors in the same capacities on that film's sequel Analyze That.

Mr. Ramis' next projects as director include an untitled historical comedy that he is developing with Owen Wilson; and a romantic comedy to star Topher Grace, written by Gustin Nash.

Note: This profile was written in or before 2005.
Read earlier biographies on this page.

Harold Ramis Facts

BirthdayNovember 21, 1944 (76)
BirthplaceChicago, Illinois, USA
Height6' 2" (1m88)  How tall is Harold Ramis compared to you?

Selected Filmography

Groundhog Day
National Lampoon's Vacation
Year One
National Lampoon's Vacation Collection
Analyze This
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