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Harold Ramis, Second City Alum, Dead at 69

The Second City, Chicago
The Second City, Chicago
The Second City

Sad news from The Second City, Harold Ramis, beloved comic actor, writer and director, has died at the age of 69. Ramis, who passed away Monday morning, February 24, 2014 at his Chicago home leaves behind his wife, Erica Mann Ramis, his three children and two grandchildren.

For forty years, Ramis was a leader and inspiration of what was funny in this world. Ramis received a WGA nomination for his first film, "Animal House." During his long career, he also won the American Comedy Award and the BAFTA.

In an interview given to The Chicago Tribune in 1999, the late Bernie Sahlins best described Ramis as, "the least changed by success of anyone I know in terms of sense of humor, of humility, sense of self. He's the same Harold he was 30 years ago. He's had enormous success relatively, but none of it has gone to his head in any way."

True to that, Ramis was kind and gracious with a strong, sharp sense of humor, engaging with everyone he met. The hallways of The Second City can be surprising at times, hey, there's Geroge Wendt! Look, Jeff Garlin! Steve Carrel! Some folks nod, some folks retreat but some reach out. Ramis reached out, with immense kindness and joy.

Ramis was a phenomenally successful writer, actor and director. He co-wrote and acted in "National Lampoon's Animal House," "Ghostbusters" 1 and 2, "Stripes", "Caddyshack," "Meatballs," and "Analyze This," just to name a few.

He was an equally successful director, helming classics such as "Caddyshack," "Groundhog Day" and "National Lampoon's Vacation."

Ramis died from complications related to auto-immune inflammatory vasculitis. He was diagnosed with the sometimes painful and debilitating condition in 2010.

Second City released this statement regarding Ramis' death, "It is with great sadness that we learned of the passing of our dear friend and alumni, Harold Ramis. It is a great loss for his family and the film and entertainment communities. Our thoughts are with his wife Erica and their family."

Andrew Alexander added, "It is impossible to overstate the personal and professional influence that Harold Ramis has had on all of us at The Second City. He was a natural leader, a trusted friend and so generous with his own talent that he made everyone he ever worked with look like a genius. We are devastated to lose him so young but we were all enriched by the years we did get to partake of his particular brilliance."

Funeral and memorial details are unknown at this time. Information will be updated once details have been confirmed.

Ramis indeed lived a life well lived. As Bill Murray, friend and frequent co-star of Ramis wrote today, "He earned his keep in this world."

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