Harold Ramis at a Hudson Union Society event in October 2009. Photo by Justin Hoch [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.
Harold Ramis at a Hudson Union Society event in October 2009. Photo by Justin Hoch [CC BY 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0)], via Wikimedia Commons.

Harold Ramis, the late actor/director/writer best known for co-writing films such as “Animal House,” “Caddyshack,” “Ghostbusters,” “Stripes” and “Groundhog Day,” will be posthumously honored with the Writers Guild of America, West’s Screen Laurel Award, the guild announced Tueday.

“Harold Ramis changed the face of comedy,” WGAW Vice President Howard Rodman said. “His death last year deprived us of his unique way of seeing the world, at once hilarious and wise. From his early work with National Lampoon and ‘SCTV’ through ‘Animal House,’ ‘Meatballs,’ ‘Caddyshack’ and ‘Ghostbusters,’ Ramis’ voice was strong, clear, outrageous in all the best ways.

“His unrealized projects — an adaptation of a ‘Confederacy of Dunces,’ a biopic about Emma Goldman — leave us aching with an anticipation that will never be fulfilled,” Rodman said. “And then there’s ‘Groundhog Day,’ one of modern cinema’s few true masterworks, a film that is impeccably crafted, morally astute, emotionally sustaining, philosophically insightful and funny as hell. We could watch it again and again and forever.”

The Chicago native began his writing career with the Chicago Daily News and later became the joke editor for Playboy magazine. In 1969, he became performing with the Second City improv troupe, later performing in “The National Lampoon Show” will fellow Second City alums John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Bill Murray.

Instead of following his cohorts to “Saturday Night Live,” Ramis joined “SCTV,” eventually becoming its head writer and associate producer.

He gained film fame by co-writing the comedy hits “Animal House,” “Meatballs,” “Caddyshack” and “Stripes,” then went on to write “Ghostbusters” and “Ghostbusters II” with Dan Aykroyd. He also co-wrote Rodney Dangerfield’s comedy “Back to School.” He co-wrote and directed “Groundhog Day,” “Analyze This” and “Analyze That.”

His other directing credits include “National Lampoon’s Vacation,” “Stuart Saves His Family” and “Multiplicity.”

Ramis died Feb. 24, 2014 at age 69. He will be honored during the WGA Awards ceremony on Feb. 14.

Previous recipients of the Screen Laurel Award include David Mamet, Lawrence Kasdan and Barry Levinson.

— City News Service

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