Death of comedy director Ivan Reitman

Ivan Reitman, the influential filmmaker and producer behind beloved comedies from Animal House to Ghostbusters, has died. He was 75 years old.

Reitman died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, Calif., according to his family.

“Our family is mourning 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 are reassured that his work as a filmmaker has brought laughter and happiness to countless people around the world. As we privately mourn, we hope that those who knew him through his films will always remember him.”

(Image: Shutterstock/Kathy Hutchin – LOS ANGELES – SEP 12: Ivan Reitman at the Halloween Horror Nights at Universal Studios Hollywood on September 12, 2019 in Universal City, CA)

Known for his great, bawdy comedies that captured the spirit of their times, Reitman’s big breakthrough came with the raucous send-off of the National Lampoon’s Animal House college fraternity, which he produced.

He directed Bill Murray in his first starring role in Meatballs and then again in Stripes, but his most significant success came with Ghostbusters in 1984.

Not only did the irreverent supernatural comedy starring Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis gross nearly US$300 million (AUD$420 million) worldwide, it took home two Oscar nominations, has spawned a veritable franchise, including spin-offs, TV shows and a new movie, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which opened last year and which his filmmaker son Jason Reitman is directing.


(Image: Shutterstock/Tinseltown – Jason Reitman and Ivan Reitman at the Los Angeles premiere of ‘Thank You For Smoking’ held at the Directors Guild of America in Hollywood on March 16, 2006.)

Other notable films he directed include Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Dave, Junior and Six Days, Seven Nights. He also produced Beethoven, Old School and EuroTrip, and many more, including several for his son, filmmaker Jason Reitman.

He was born in Komarmo, Czechoslovakia in 1946, where his father owned the largest vinegar factory in the country. When the Communists began imprisoning capitalists after the war, the Reitmans decided to escape, when Ivan Reitman was only four years old. They traveled in the nailed hold of a barge bound for Vienna.

The Reitmans joined a relative in Toronto, where Ivan displayed his showbiz inclinations; start a puppet theatre, entertain at summer camps, play in cafes with a folk music band. He studied music and theater at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, and started making short films.

© AP 2022

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