Caddyshack. Groundhog Day. National Lampoon’s Vacation. Were he only the director of those three films and nothing more, Harold Ramis’ legacy in our hearts would be cemented. But as the cowriter and costar of Ghostbusters, his Dr. Egon Spengler became one of the most iconic nerd characters in cinema history. Long before collecting was cool, he collected spores, molds and fungus, and declared print to be dead before the Internet took off. And he never had to be redeemed with a love interest, as most nerd characters did – yes, there are brief sparks with Janine, but he was ultimately more into his work than having a social life, and that was okay – he was still the coolest uncool guy in the city, and unashamed of it. I watched Ghostbusters again recently, and was stunned at how well it still worked on so many levels – you would never see a summer movie that smart and entertaining be the year’s top-grosser today, unless maybe it were Pixar.
Harold died today as the result of health problems stemming from an infection sustained four years ago. Take care of your health, people.
And Harold, if you can see this now: Have you seen Elvis, and how is he?