Actor Harold Ramis, Who Also Wrote And Directed, Dies At 69

Ramos was famous for films including Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Gostbusters and National Lampoon's Animal House. He died Monday in Chicago of an autoimmune disease.

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DAVID GREENE, HOST:

And this morning, we're remembering comedian Harold Ramis. Ramis was probably best known for his time on screen alongside Bill Murray and Dan Aykroyd in "Ghostbusters." He and Murray also teamed up as best buddies who have no business joining the Army in the movie "Stripes." Here's Ramis in his deadpan performance as Russell Ziskey.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "STRIPES")

HAROLD RAMIS: (as Russell Ziskey) I've always been kind of a pacifist. When I was a kid, my father told me never hit anyone in anger unless you're absolutely sure you can get away with it.

RENEE MONTAGNE, HOST:

Ramis got his start writing jokes for Playboy magazine. He took his comedic talents on stage with the Second City, that comedy troupe in his hometown of Chicago that served as an incubator for many of comedy's greats, including John Belushi. Ramis and Belushi launched their film careers together with the 1978 classic "Animal House." Harold Ramis wrote the role of Bluto, a seventh-year college student with a GPA of 0.0, just for Belushi.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "ANIMAL HOUSE")

JOHN BELUSHI: (as Bluto) Nothing is over until we decide it is. Was it over when the Germans bombed Pearl Harbor? Hell, no.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Sherman?

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Forget it. He's rolling.

BELUSHI: (as Bluto) And it ain't over now.

GREENE: Ramis was prolific behind the camera, writing and directing movies like "National Lampoon's Vacation," "Groundhog Day" and "Analyze This." Later on, he even directed a few episodes of NBC's "The Office." The current generation of comedic filmmakers took a lot of their cues from Harold Ramis. One of them got to give him some cues: Judd Apatow directed Ramis in "Knocked Up." He played the father of Seth Rogen's character.

(SOUNDBITE OF MOVIE, "KNOCKED UP")

RAMIS: (as Harris) I'm going to be a grandfather.

SETH ROGEN: (as Ben) You happy about that?

RAMIS: (as Harris) Absolutely. Delighted.

ROGEN: (as Ben) This is a disaster.

RAMIS: (as Harris) No, this is not a disaster.

ROGEN: (as Ben) It is.

RAMIS: (as Harris) An earthquake is a disaster. Your grandmother having Alzheimer's so bad she doesn't even know who the (bleep) I am, that's a disaster. This is a good thing. This is a blessing.

MONTAGNE: Harold Ramis was 69 years old when he passed away yesterday. He was at home, just outside Chicago. You're hearing now the theme to one of his biggest successes as a director, "Caddyshack."

(SOUNDBITE OF SONG, "I'M ALRIGHT)

KENNY LOGGINS: (Singing) I'm all right. Nobody's worried about me. Why you got to give me a fight? Can't you just let it be? I'm all right. Don't nobody worry about me.

MONTAGNE: This is NPR News.

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