Yesterday was Groundhog Day, but the day before that, there was a Groundhog Day sighting in Cincinnati.
Yes, THE Bill Murray was at the Xavier-Seton Hall men’s basketball game (his son Luke is an assistant coach for Xavier). Everyone knows Bill. Everyone loves Bill. But how about a little love for his good friend, writing partner and sometimes co-star, Harold Ramis.
Harold’s star never did shine as brightly as Bill’s, but his fingerprints are all over so many of the most memorable comedies of my generation:
- he wrote Animal House, Meatballs, Caddyshack, Stripes, Ghostbusters and the screenplay for Back to School and Groundhog Day
- he was the head writer for SCTV for a couple of years
- he co-starred with Bill Murray in Stripes and Ghostbusters, and also was an actor in SCTV, Knocked Up and As Good as It Gets
- he directed Caddyshack, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Groundhog Day… and 4 episodes of The Office. (He also directed Stuart Saves His Family but still, not a bad batting average.)
Beyond the IMDb stats, though, from all reports Mr. Ramis (who passed away in 2014) was a really good guy… and that doesn’t happen often in Hollywood. Here’s Groundhog Day actress Andie McDowell talking about him:
Raised Jewish, Harold gravitated toward Buddhism, and even created a pocket-sized “5 Minute Buddhist” cheat sheet, which he kept with him at all times.
He described his belief system as “Budd-ish.” The influence of Buddhism shows up in Caddyshack:
And it’s all over Groundhog Day. So on the day after, which is like the day before, and the day before that, let’s practice a little gratitude for Mr. Harold Ramis.
And check out these fun facts about the Groundhog Day from Harold’s director’s commentary.