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What was Harold Ramis’ net worth?
Harold Ramis was an American actor, director writer and producer who had a net worth of $50 million at the time of his death. Ramis starred in and wrote some of the most popular comedies of the 80s and 90s. Some of the most notable movies Harold wrote during his career include “Stripes”, “Ghostbusters” (I and II), “Groundhog Day” and “Year One”. Some of the notable movies Harold directed include “Cadyshack”, “National Lampoon’s Vacation”, “Groundhog Day” and “Analyze This”. His most-memorable role will probably always be the nerdy Dr. Egon Spengler in the “Ghostbusters” franchise.
Notably, Ramis was also the original head writer on the sketch comedy television series “SCTV,” and co-wrote many films.
He wrote a spec script for the comedy magazine National Lampoon which was eventually turned into “Animal House”. “Animal House” was produced on a shoestring budget and went on to earn more than $140 million at the box office, enough to make it one of the most profitable movies of all time.
Early Life and Education
Harold Ramis was born on November 21, 1944 in Chicago, Illinois to Jewish parents Nathan and Ruth, who owned the Ace Food & Liquor Mart on the city’s North Side. As a youth, he went to Stephen K. Hayt Elementary School, and then to Nicholas Senn High School. For his higher education, Ramis attended Washington University in St. Louis.
While in college, Ramis started to write parodic plays. After graduating, he worked for seven months at a mental institution in St. Louis. Ramis avoided the Vietnam War military draft by taking methamphetamine to fail his physical. Back in Chicago, he worked as a substitute teacher and did freelance writing for the Chicago Daily News; additionally, he studied and performed with the Second City improv comedy troupe. Due to his newspaper writing success, Ramis eventually became a joke editor for Playboy magazine, and was later promoted to associate editor.
In 1974, Ramis and a number of other Second City performers joined John Belushi on “The National Lampoon Radio Hour” in New York City. The group also starred in the revue “The National Lampoon Show.” From 1976 to 1979, Ramis was the head writer on the sketch comedy television series “SCTV,” on which he also performed. Later, in 1984, he was instrumental in bringing the variety show “The Top” to air, and served as its executive producer. The show featured an admixture of music, comedy, and videos, with guest stars such as Rodney Dangerfield, Dan Aykroyd, and Chevy Chase.
Film Directing and Writing
Ramis left “SCTV” in the late 70s to pursue a career in film. In 1978, he had his first big success as the co-writer of the John Belushi comedy “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” which broke box-office records to become the highest-grossing comedy film of the time. Next, Ramis co-wrote the 1979 Bill Murray comedy “Meatballs,” another major commercial success. He went on to collaborate frequently with Murray over the following years to continued success. In 1980, Ramis co-wrote and made his directorial debut with the golf comedy “Caddyshack.” The year after, he co-wrote the war comedy “Stripes.” In 1983, Ramis directed “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” and in 1984, co-wrote and starred in the smash supernatural comedy “Ghostbusters.” His other credits in the 80s include “Club Paradise,” which he directed and co-wrote; and “Back to School,” “Armed and Dangerous,” “Caddyshack II,” and “Ghostbusters II,” on all of which he has writing credits.
In 1993, Ramis released perhaps his most acclaimed film, the fantasy comedy “Groundhog Day,” which he both directed and co-wrote. For the script, he and co-writer Danny Rubin won the BAFTA Award for Best Original Screenplay. Ramis subsequently directed “Stuart Saves His Family,” written by and starring Al Franken; “Multiplicity,” starring Michael Keaton and Andie MacDowell; and “Analyze This,” starring Billy Crystal and Robert De Niro. Ramis also co-wrote the script to the latter film, and made a sequel, “Analyze That,” in 2002. His other directing credits are “Bedazzled,” “The Ice Harvest,” and the 2009 adventure comedy “Year One,” which was his final work.
As an actor, Ramis made his big-screen debut in 1981, playing Russell Ziskey in “Stripes.” Three years later, he starred alongside Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Rick Moranis in “Ghostbusters.” Later in the decade, Ramis was in “Baby Boom,” “Stealing Home,” and “Ghostbusters II,” in which he reprised his role as Dr. Egon Spengler. In the 90s, he appeared as a neurologist in his own film “Groundhog Day,” and also had parts in “Airheads,” “Love Affair,” and “As Good as it Gets.” Ramis’s acting credits in the 2000s include the comedies “Orange County,” “I’m with Lucy,” “The Last Kiss,” “Knocked Up,” and “Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.” He made his last screen appearance in his own 2009 film “Year One,” portraying the Biblical Adam.
Personal Life and Legacy
In 1967, Ramis wed San Francisco artist Anne Plotkin, with whom he had a daughter named Violet. The couple later divorced in 1984; the following year, Ramis had a daughter named Mollie with director Amy Heckerling. In 1989, he married his second wife, Erica Mann, with whom he had sons Julian and Daniel. Ramis was an avid fan of the Chicago Cubs, and had a number of pastimes such as fencing, hat-making, and playing the guitar.
Ramis contracted an infection in 2010 that caused severe health complications, including the inability to walk. Following a brief recovery, he suffered a relapse in 2011. Later, in February of 2014, he passed away from complications of the disease at the age of 69. Ramis has left behind a significant legacy with his work, and continues to influence many comedians, writers, actors, and filmmakers. In 2016, two years after his passing, the Second City in Chicago founded the Harold Ramis Film School in his honor; it was the first film school dedicated exclusively to film comedy.
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