Ivan Reitman, director of Ghostbusters and producer of Animal House, dies at 75 | Movie

Ivan Reitman, the influential filmmaker and producer of beloved comedies such as Ghostbusters, Animal House and Twins, has died aged 75.

Reitman died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, Calif., his family told The Associated Press. No cause of death was given.

“Our family mourns the unexpected loss of a husband, father and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life,” his children Jason, Catherine and Caroline Reitman said in a statement. commmon.

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

Filmmakers and comedians lined up to pay their respects on Monday. The director of the 2016 Ghostbusters reboot, Paul Feig, wrote: “I had the honor of working so closely with Ivan and it was always such a learning experience… All of us in comedy owe him so much. .” Comedian Kumail Nanjiani tweeted: “A legend. The number of great films he has made is absurd.

Reitman was born in Komarmo, Czechoslovakia, in 1946. His mother had survived Auschwitz, and his father was in the underground resistance and owned the largest vinegar factory in the country. Reitman was just four years old when his family fled communist oppression, traveling in the tacked hold of a barge bound for Vienna in 1950.

Reitman was known for his great bawdy comedies that captured the spirit of their time. Photography: Mega Productions/Rex

The family joined a relative in Toronto, where Reitman showed his inclinations for show business – creating a puppet theater, entertaining at summer camps, and performing in cafes with a folk music group. He studied music and theater at McMaster University and started making short films.

In 1975 he produced the Off-Broadway National Lampoon Show, starring Bill Murray, John Belushi, Brian Doyle-Murray, Gilda Radner and Harold Ramis – all unknowns who would go on to star in Reitman films.

His 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 biggest hit came with Ghostbusters in 1984.

Not only did the irreverent supernatural comedy – starring Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Rick Moranis, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson and Sigourney Weaver – gross nearly $300 million worldwide, but it earned two Oscar nominations and spawned a true franchise including a sequel, spinoffs, games and TV shows. In 2021, Ghostbusters: Afterlife was released – directed by Reitman’s son, Jason, also a filmmaker, and produced by Reitman.

Other notable films made by Reitman include Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Dave, Junior and Six Days, Seven Nights. His latest directorial effort, Kevin Costner’s film Draft Day, was released in 2014.

Deadline reported last year that Reitman is set to direct and produce a sequel to Twins, titled Triplets. Filming was set to begin in January 2022, with Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito set to reprise their roles with comedian Tracy Morgan playing their long-lost brother.

Reitman has also produced several hits, including Beethoven, Space Jam, Old School and EuroTrip. He produced two of Jason’s films, Ghostbusters: Afterlife and the 2009 film Up in the Air. “It was a learning experience for me,” Reitman told The Guardian in November. “At one point we had a terrible disagreement and Jason said to me, ‘I’ve worked with a lot of different producers and none have spoken to me like you.’ And I thought, ‘Wow! He’s right!’ I had to think of him as a professional, not as my son, whom I could direct.

Reitman is survived by his wife, Genevieve, and their three children.

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