Ivan Reitman, the influential filmmaker and producer behind many of the most honey comedies of the late 20th century, from “Animal House” to “Ghostbusters,” has died. He was 75.
Reitman died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, Calif., his family told The Associated Press.
“Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a hubby, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life,” children Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman and Caroline Reitman said in a joint statement. “We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world. While nosotros mourn privately, we hope those who knew him through his films will remember him always.”
Known for bawdy comedies that defenseless the spirit of their time, Reitman’s big break came with the raucous, college fraternity sendup “National Lampoon’s Fauna House,” which he produced. He directed Bill Murray in his first starring role in the summer army camp picture “Meatballs,” and then again in 1981’s “Stripes,” but his most significant success came with 1984’due south “Ghostbusters.”
Not only did the irreverent supernatural comedy starring Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis gross nearly $300 million worldwide, it earned two Oscar nominations, spawned a veritable franchise, including spinoffs, boob tube shows and a new moving-picture show, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” that opened this last yr. His son, filmmaker Jason Reitman directed.
Paul Feig, who directed the 2016 reboot of “Ghostbusters” tweeted that he was in shock.
“I had the laurels of working so closely with Ivan and it was always such a learning experience,” Feig wrote. “He directed some of my favorite comedies of all fourth dimension. All of us in comedy owe him so very much.”
“A legend,” comedian and actor Kumail Nanjiani said on Twitter. “The number of neat movies he made is absurd.”
Among other notable films he directed are “Twins,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Dave,” “Junior” and 1998’s “6 Days, Vii Nights.” He also produced “Beethoven,” “Sometime School” and “EuroTrip,” and many others, including his son’south Oscar-nominated picture show “Up in the Air.”
He was born in Komárno, Czechoslovakia, in 1946 where his father endemic the state’south biggest vinegar factory. His mother had survived Auschwitz and his father was in the resistance. When the communists began imprisoning capitalists afterward the war, the Reitmans decided to escape, when Ivan Reitman was only 4. They traveled in the nailed-down hold of a barge headed for Vienna.
“I remember flashes of scenes,” Reitman told the AP in 1979. “Later they told me nigh how they gave me a couple of sleeping pills and then I wouldn’t brand any noise. I was and so knocked out that I slept with my optics open. My parents were afraid I was expressionless.”
The Reitmans joined a relative in Toronto, where Ivan displayed his bear witness biz inclinations: starting a puppet theater, entertaining at summer camps, playing java houses with a folk music grouping. He studied music and drama at McMaster Academy in Hamilton, Ontario, and began making pic shorts.
With friends and $12,000, Reitman made a nine-twenty-four hours picture, “Cannibal Girls,” which American International agreed to release. He produced on a $500 budget a weekly TV revue, “Greed,” with Dan Aykroyd, and became associated with the Lampoon group in its off-Broadway revue that featured John Belushi, Gilda Radner and Murray. That soon led to “Animal House.”
Reitman seized the moment after “Animal Business firm’s” massive success and raised money to directly “Meatballs,” which would be tamer than the difficult-R “Creature House.”
He manus picked Murray to star, which would show to exist a significant break for the comedian, simply Ramis afterward said that Reitman didn’t know if Murray would actually show up until the start day of the shoot. But information technology was the beginning of a fruitful and longrunning partnership that would produce the war comedy “Stripes,” which Reitman said he thought upwardly on the way to the “Meatballs” premiere, and “Ghostbusters.”
Reitman likewise put Schwarzenegger in his first major comedy, contrary Danny DeVito in “Twins.” In that location was such uncertainty around the project that all forfeited their fees for a share of the profits, which would bear witness to be a lucrative deal when the film earned $216 million confronting an $18 one thousand thousand production budget. In Sept. 2021, information technology was announced that a sequel, “Triplets” was in the works with Reitman directing his original cast, plus Tracy Morgan as their long lost blood brother.
By the time 1990’south “Kindergarten Cop” came around, Reitman had established himself as the most successful comedy manager in history. Though non even existence the male parent of iii children could have prepared him for the backbreaking task of directing 30 children betwixt the ages of 4 and seven in the Schwarzenegger comedy.
The political comedy “Dave,” starring Kevin Kline as an ordinary human who has to double for the US President, provided a bit of a departure for Reitman. Roger Ebert wrote at the time that “The movie is more proof that it isn’t what you do, information technology’southward how you do it: Ivan Reitman’south direction and Gary Ross’ screenplay use intelligence and warmhearted sentiment to brand Dave into wonderful lighthearted entertainment.”
Reitman slowed down every bit a manager later “Six Days, Seven Nights,” the 1998 adventure comedy with Harrison Ford and Anne Heche — only four films would follow “Evolution,” “My Super Ex-Girlfriend,” “No Strings Attached” and “Draft 24-hour interval,” from 2014.
Only he continued producing. His company, the Montecito Picture show Co., produced Todd Phillips’ first film, “Road Trip.” And with “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” fifty-fifty establish himself on the press circuit with his son, providing emotional moments for both with the passing of the baton. Jason Reitman, who was but 7 when the original came out, included some nods to his father’due south films like “Beethoven” and “Cannibal Girls” in “Afterlife.”
“Directing ‘Ghostbusters Afterlife’ was completely intimidating,” Jason Reitman said last year. “I was lucky plenty to do information technology sitting next to my dad.”
When asked why the 1984 picture continued to fascinate, Reitman told the AP that it was difficult to ascertain.
“I always had a sort of sincere approach to the comedy,” he said. “I took information technology seriously even though, information technology was a horror pic and a comedy, I felt you had to sort of deal with it in a kind of realistic and honest fashion.”
He ever took comedy and the power of laughter seriously.
“The great cliché is nearly how damn tough comedy is. But of course, nobody really gives that any respect,” he told the Los Angeles Times in 2000. “It’southward such a visceral affair, laughing. Then getting to the indicate where yous can get an audience of 600 people laughing is really precise and intricate piece of work. … My sense is nosotros’re laughing at the same things nosotros’ve always laughed at, but the linguistic communication of the filmmaker and the performer shifts.”
AP Amusement Reporter Andrew Dalton contributed from Los Angeles. John Carucci contributed from New York.