Ivan Reitman, the director behind beloved comedies like Ghostbusters and Kindergarten Cop, has passed away at age 75. Reitman was born on October 27, 1946 in Komárno, Czechoslovakia, where he lived until he was four years old. He made his directorial debut in 1971 with the Canadian film Foxy Lady, and then followed it up with movies such as Cannibal Girls, Meatballs, and Stripes. However, it would be his 1984 paranormal comedy Ghostbusters that would truly make Reitman a household name. Starring the likes of Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Ernie Hudson, and Harold Ramis, Ghostbusters was a critical and financial success, and it created a dedicated fanbase that is still thriving to this day.
Ghostbusters led to a sequel in 1989; in between the two movies, Reitman helmed the Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito comedy Twins. The long-awaited sequel to that, Triplets, was expected to finally get off the ground later this year with DeVito, Schwarzenegger, and Tracy Morgan. Beyond the aforementioned films, Reitman directed movies like Kindergarten Cop and No Strings Attached with Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. His final feature film was 2014’s Draft Day, which starred Kevin Costner.
Per The Associated Press, Reitman died on Saturday, February 12 in his home in Montecito California. He was 75. His family confirmed the news and said he passed peacefully in his sleep. His children Jason, Catherine, and Caroline said in a joint statement:
“Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life. We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world. While we mourn privately, we hope those who knew him through his films will remember him always.”
In addition to being a beloved director, Reitman was a prolific producer. He had an extra hand in most of the films he directed, and also produced such hits as Animal House, Space Jam, and Up in the Air, which earned Reitman an Oscar nomination for best picture. Most recently, he produced Ghostbusters: Afterlife, the latest installment in the franchise he helped create. Fittingly, his son Jason directed it and turned it into an homage to what came before. The loss of original Ghostbuster Egon Spengler (Ramis) is a large part of Afterlife, and it admittedly holds some extra resonance in the light of this news.
Several decades into his career, Reitman was still working on new projects, and his passing will come as a blow to many. It’s a comfort, then, that so many of his movies were comedies; should fans wish to honor him now by putting on Ghostbusters or Twins, they’ll likely find themselves laughing in spite of the sad circumstances. That’s an impressive legacy to leave behind, and Reitman’s work with the Ghostbusters franchise will go a long way in making sure his memory lives on for many, many more years.
R.I.P. Ivan Reitman: October 27, 1946 – February 13, 2022
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