Ivan Reitman, Director of Ghostbusters, Has Passed Away

Best known and beloved as the director of the first two Ghostbusters movies, Ivan Reitman passed away on Saturday, February 12 at the age of 75. According to a statement by his family to the Associated Press, it was unexpected, but peaceful. Reitman helped mold Dan Aykroyd’s Ghostbusters idea by grounding the story in the real world to emphasize the comedic elements. The movie spawned two animated series, two sequels, and one remake, all of which garnered passionate fan bases, if never quite the heights of the original.

Born in then-Czechoslovakia to a Holocaust survivor and a freedom fighter, Reitman grew up in Canada. Though he would become known for comedy, his first forays into the movie industry included producing the body-horror films Shivers and Rabid for director David Cronenberg. Over the years, he also supported science fiction on the big screen, as a producer for Heavy Metal, Space Jam, and the 3D Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone. In 2001, he tried to apply the Ghostbusters formula to aliens in the big-budget comedy Evolution.

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As the director of TwinsKindergarten Cop and Junior, he was almost entirely responsible for Arnold Schwarzenegger’s comedy phase. One that every Hollywood action star since then has tried to imitate. And Reitman even tried his hand at a superhero movie, in his uniquely comedic style, called My Super Ex-Girlfriend.

Reitman proudly handed the Ghostbusters torch over to son, Jason Reitman, for the last installment, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. Yet he clearly remained quite hands-on, making sure the son honored the father’s handiwork. At the time of his death, one of his unfinished projects was a Twins sequel entitled Triplets.

If Reitman had never done anything besides Ghostbusters, he would still have a permanent place in our hearts. Ghostbusters is a movie that plays to all ages on many levels, and it remains a marvel of perfect cinematic balance. Reitman may have gone, but his legacy will never give up the ghost.

Please feel free to share your favorite Ivan Reitman memories in comments below.

Photo Credit: Theo Wargo/Getty Images for Sony Pictures