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GHOSTBUSTERS Director Ivan Reitman Dies At 75

Ivan Reitman, the Czech-born Canadian filmmaker who had a hand in two of the biggest comedies of all-time, died at 75 per a statement from his family. 

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 husband, 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 we mourn privately, we hope those who knew him through his films will remember him always.”

Reitman is best known as the director of the 1984 smash hit GHOSTBUSTERS, a perfect combination of smart-ass humor and special effects that also doubled as a quintessential New York movie. He also produced, along with Matty Simmons, the culture-changing 1978 college farce that altered the DNA of Hollywood comedies forever, ANIMAL HOUSE.

After the blockbuster success of the Delta Tau Chi boys, Reitman directed his first feature film, the summer camp comedy MEATBALLS. Starring Bill Murray as a head counselor in his first starring role, MEATBALLS was a surprise hit and set Reitman on his wildly prolific decade of directing.

Next up was the 1981 military comedy STRIPES which paired Murray with the more laid-back Harold Ramis. It was a huge hit that won over fans and critics. 

Then Reitman revisited a script his pal Dan Aykroyd had been working on for years. He knew it was going to be a tough movie to film but GHOSTBUSTERS caught lightning in a bottle and was a monster hit, spawning cartoons, video games, toys, and a sequel five years later.

He also paired up with Arnold Schwarzenegger on a trio of comedies (TWINS, KINDERGARTEN COP, and JUNIOR) that redefined what the Austrian strongman could do onscreen. And the Kevin Kline-starring DAVE may be his most underrated film.

After his successful directing career slowed down in the '90s, Reitman continued his magic touch on the production side. He helped bring to the screen the very movies influenced by the first one he produced decades earlier: ROAD TRIP, OLD SCHOOL, and I LOVE YOU, MAN. He also produced his son Jason's Oscar-nominated George Clooney flick, the melancholy yet funny UP IN THE AIR. He was also very well-liked by seemingly everyone he worked with.

Simply put, Ivan Reitman had as big an off-screen role as anyone when it came to American comedies over the last 45 years and his contributions will always be felt thanks to their success and significance. Farewell to a great one.