Animal House writer Harold Ramis dead at 69

EUGENE, Ore. - Harold Ramis wrote some of the most memorable lines ever uttered in Eugene.

"He was the funniest guy of all of them. He was the one who created the most incredible lines," recalled Katherine Wilson, casting director for National Lampoon's Animal House. "The funniest lines were Harold's."

But the comedian skipped the filming of "Animal House" altogether.

"I had auditioned for the movie and didn't get it," Ramis told GQ in 2009.

"I'm not hanging around to be an extra," he recalled thinking at the time. "I saw it for the first time at a test screening."

The actor, director and writer died at his suburban Chicago home early Monday morning. He was 69.

Ramis also co-wrote "Ghostbusters," which he starred in alongside Bill Murray and Dan Akroyd.

His other writing and acting credits include "Stripes" with Murrary. He co-wrote "Meatballs" and directed "Caddyshack" and "Groundhog Day."

In recent years, he directed "Analyze This," starring Billy Crystal and Robert DeNiro, and was cast by Judd Apatow to play Seth Rogen's father in "Knocked Up."

His contributions to "Animal House" connect Ramis to the southern Willamette Valley, even if he didn't take part in the shoot here.

The 1978 film, set in 1962, follows the fraternal antics of the Deltas as they are put on "double secret probation" by Dean Wormer and targeted by rival fraternity Omega house.

The films was shot at the University of Oregon in Eugene and at the Dexter Lake Club, where the characters encountered Otis Day and the Knights.

The film ends with the Deltas disrupting the homecoming parade, filmed on Main Street in Cottage Grove.

Interest in the film and its locations have remained strong over the years.

"When we were writing Animal House, we assumed it would be the most successful comedy ever," Ramis told GQ in 2009. "Our generation had broken into television with SNL, and this was going to be the first "new" Hollywood comedy. It was our attempt to capture those years, right up to November 1963, when there was a feeling that the kids were taking over the country for the first time. In our minds, the end of that movie-the parade, all that euphoria-takes place the day before Kennedy was shot. Because the day after, none of that mattered anymore."

close video ad
Unmutetoggle ad audio on off