Ivan Reitman, Ghostbusters Director, Passes at 75, Tributes Pour In

One of comedy's greatest legends in director Ivan Reitman passed on February 12 at the age of 75. For generations of fans, he's best known for Ghostbusters, helping vault its primary cast in Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, and Harold Ramis into superstardom. Born in 1946, Reitman made his feature debut in 1971's Foxy Lady, which would be the first of several projects where he worked with cast members of SCTV and Saturday Night Live. In this case and his 1973 follow-up in Cannibal Girls, it would be SCTV's Eugene Levy. He co-produced 1978's National Lampoon's Animal House, which became SNL's John Belushi's theatrical breakout role. In 1979, he would collaborate with SNL's Murray in the screwball comedy Meatballs and worked with him again in the 1981 military comedy Stripes that not only saw Ramis (who co-wrote Animal House) join the fold, but also SCTV's John Candy.

LOS ANGELES - SEP 12: Ivan Reitman at the Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Studios Hollywood on September 12, 2019 in Universal City, CA, photo by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com.
LOS ANGELES – SEP 12: Ivan Reitman at the Halloween Horror Nights at the Universal Studios Hollywood on September 12, 2019 in Universal City, CA, photo by Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com.

Reitman achieved his greatest success in 1984's Ghostbusters that not only saw Murray and Ramis back into the fold, but also recruiting SNL's (and Murray's castmate) Aykroyd, and SCTV's Rick Moranis. Its box office success would see a sequel in the maligned Ghostbusters II (1989) that saw the cast reunite. The writer and director continued his success throughout the 1980s and '90s successfully helping to break Arnold Schwarzenegger from his typecast role as action superstar casting him in several against-type roles in comedies like Twins (1988) opposite Danny DeVito, Kindergarten Cop (1990), and Junior (1994). The latter starred Schwarzenegger as a male scientist that becomes pregnant, which was quite revolutionary at the time even as a comedy.

The director worked with a wide range of actors from traditional comedians like Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Orlando Jones, DeVito, and Anna Faris to more serious in Kevin Kline, Sigourney Weaver, David Duchovny, Robert Redford, Frank Langella, Chadwick Boseman, Kevin Cosner, Uma Thurman, and Harrison Ford. Reitman slowed down in the 2000s like Evolution (2001), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), No Strings Attached (2011), and his final project Draft Day (2014). With Ivan's son Jason Reitman writing and directing the elusive third film Ghostbusters: Afterlife in 2021, Ivan remained as producer that saw most of the surviving cast reunite with a tribute to Ramis, who passed in 2014.

At the time of Reitman's passing, he was attached to direct the sequel to Twins in Universal's Triplets that would see DeVito and Schwarzenegger reunited as they are to be joined by Tracy Morgan's character as their long-lost brother. The script is planned to be penned by Dylan Dawson and Lucas Kavner. Reitman was also attached to Summer of Love, which he was co-writing with Len Blum and Lorene Scafaria on the script. Tributes poured in the director from his son Jason, Aykroyd , Schwarzenegger, Kumail Nanjiani, Ghostbusters: Answer the Call director Paul Feig, Levy and more.

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About Tom Chang

I'm a follower of pop culture from gaming, comics, sci-fi, fantasy, film, and TV for over 30 years. I grew up reading magazines like Starlog, Mad, and Fangoria. As a writer for over 10 years, Star Wars was the first sci-fi franchise I fell in love with. I'm a nerd-of-all-trades.
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