Hollywood is mourning the death of successful writer and director Harold Ramis, who died early Monday morning due to complications stemming from an autoimmune disease. He was 69.
Among the mourners is Ramis’ wife of 25 years, the producer Erica Mann Ramis. The pair met in 1986, while Erica served as an assistant to Harold on “Club Paradise,” a film he directed that was shot in Jamaica.
“I worked on that movie as an assistant to the director [Harold Ramis], who ended up being my husband,” Erica Mann Ramis said in an August 2013 interview with White City Cinema. Erica also had a bit acting part in the film, and she was credited as “Erica Mann -- Girl at Bar.”
“It was a lot of fun to do," she said. "I was with Eugene Levy and Rick Moranis. 'Club Paradise' was one of Harold’s movies that came and went rather quickly but I actually like it. It was a lot of fun to do. We were on the island of Jamaica for four months -- the cast and crew and all and it was pretty great.”
Erica Mann Ramis confirmed her husband’s death to the Chicago Tribune. The couple had been longtime Chicago residents. She said Harold Ramis died at 12:53 a.m. of complications stemming from autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, which the paper described as a rare disease that swells blood vessels.
She said her husband’s health took a turn for the worse in May 2010, when he developed an infection caused by his condition that impacted his ability to walk. He recovered before suffering a relapse in late 2011.
Harold Ramis is best known for directing and writing some of the most successful and memorable comedies over the past 30 years, including writing the “Ghostbusters” franchise, where he also played Dr. Egon Spengler. He also sat behind the camera for the Bill Murray hit “Groundhog Day” and wrote the script for the cult comedy classic “Animal House.”
Erica Mann Ramis said her husband was fortunate to have had early success in Hollywood, which enabled him to have a long career in the film industry.
“He was very lucky," she said. "I mean, the first screenplay he wrote was ‘Animal House,’ and the first movie he directed was ‘Caddyshack,’” she said.
Before his marriage to Erica Mann, Harold Ramis had been married to Anne Plotkin from 1967 until their divorce in 1977. He had a daughter, Violet, with Plotkin. The writer and director also had two sons, Julian and Daniel, with Erica Mann Ramis.