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Filmmaker Harold Ramis dies at 69

JTA

February 24, 2014 | 12:33 pm

Harold Ramis. Photo by Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Harold Ramis. Photo by Featureflash / Shutterstock.com

Harold Ramis, an actor, writer and director who had a hand in such iconic comedies as “Groundhog Day,” “Ghostbusters” and “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” has died.

Ramis died early Monday morning in Chicago from complications of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a rare disease that involves swelling of the blood vessels, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing Ramis’ wife, Erica. He was 69.

In addition to directing “Groundhog Day,” Ramis wrote and directed “Caddyshack,” “National Lampoon’s Vacation” and “Analyze This.” He also directed episodes of NBC’s “The Office.”

As an actor, his best-known film roles came in “Ghostbusters” and “Stripes,” both of which he co-wrote and both with Bill Murray.

Ramis, a Chicago native, graduated from Washington University in St. Louis. He acted in Chicago’s Second City improvisational comedy troupe along with Murray and John Belushi.

He lived in Los Angeles from the late 1970s before returning to Chicago, basing his production company in a Chicago suburb.

Ramis had a Jewish upbringing, and later immersed himself in Zen Buddhism, according to the Chicago Tribune.

He was well known as a Chicago Cubs fan, leading the singing of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh-inning stretch at Wrigley Field.

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