Ivan Reitman, filmmaker and producer behind popular 80s comedies such as Animal House and Ghostbusters, has died at age 75.
Reitman passed peacefully in his sleep at his home in Montecito, Calif., in a statement made to the Associated Press by his family.
“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.”
From the antics of Bill Murray in his first starring role in Meatballs, Stripes and Ghostbusters, Reitman managed to capture the spirit of the 80s in a unique and bombastic way. His films he directed or produced had a prolific effect on the media and comedy of the time, and are often mimicked in part even today.
While Ivan Reitman is known for his films of the 80s, he managed to direct countless hits such as Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Dave, Junior and Six Days, Seven Nights. He has also produced many films, such as Beethoven, Old School and EuroTrip, and even the most recent Ghostbusters: Afterlife directed by his son Jason Reitman.
Ivan Reitman was born in Komarmo, Czechoslovakia, in 1946, where his father owned the country’s biggest vinegar factory. After the communist party began imprisoning capitalists after the war, the family decided to escape, where they eventually found their way to a relative in Toronto.
Ivan Reitman showed a love of show business, starting a puppet theatre, playing summer camps, and folk groups. He studied music and drama at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ont., and began making movie shorts along with other media.
In 2009, he co-produced “Up in the Air,” a comedy-drama starring George Clooney as a peripatetic corporate downsizing specialist. His son Jason directed and co-wrote the film, which was nominated for an Academy Award for best picture and won the Oscar for best adapted screenplay.
Reitman is survived by his wife Genevieve; his son Jason; and daughters Catherine (Working Moms), a TV actress-writer-producer, and Caroline.