Most people my age know Harold Ramis as Egon from the Ghostbusters movies or as Bill Murray’s sidekick in Stripes. Few of them realize how many movies he is actually responsible for. Ramis was a far more acclaimed writer than actor, but he also directed many of the movies he wrote as well as others. In addition to both Ghostbusters movies and Stripes, Ramis also wrote Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day and Analyze This. Not to mention episodes of the TV show SCTV as well as both incarnations of the animated Ghostbusters series. Ramis also directed National Lampoons Vacation and several episodes of The Office.
He created a brand of comedy (thanks in part to friend and frequent collaborator Bill Murray) that has withstood the test of time better than the John Hughes movies of the same era. Judd Apatow has credited Ramis as a major influence and much of Apatow’s style can be seen drawing from the groundwork Ramis laid.
He is under appreciated by many because most people don’t know all the movies he had a hand in. When you factor in the small roles he had in movies like Orange County, and Knocked Up, it’s safe to say that if the following: if I could only watch the work of one Hollywood figure for the rest of my life, there’s a strong likelihood that person would be Ramis.