Ivan Reitman, 'Ghostbusters' Director and Celebrated Producer, Dead at 75
By Zach Seemayer
ANGELA WEISS/AFP via Getty Images
Ivan Reitman, the director and producer responsible for some of the most beloved comedies of all time, has died. He was 75.
Reitman died in his sleep at his home in Montecito, California, on Saturday, while surrounded by family, the Associated Press reports.
“Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life,” the filmmaker's children shared in a joint statement to The AP on Sunday. "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."
One of Reitman's first big successes came in 1978 with the raunchy college comedy National Lampoon's Animal House, which he produced. The film became a comedy classic, and led to Reitman helming Meatballs in 1979, where he directed Bill Murray in his first leading role.
Reitman and Murray would go on to work together again in 1981 on Stripes before teaming up for the beloved comedy horror Ghostbusters in 1984.
Ghostbusters would go on to establish a franchise, with a sequel Reitman directed in 1989, followed by animated television shows, video games, a reboot/sequel -- directed by Paul Feig and executive produced by Reitman -- in 2016.
The long-awaited follow-up, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, was released last year and was helmed by his son, four-time Oscar nominee Jason Reitman.
Jason shared an emotional tribute to his father on Instagram, writing, "I’ve lost my hero. All I want in the world is the chance to tell my father one more story. He came from a family of survivors and turned his legacy into laughter. Thank you for the many messages of kindness. Please enjoy his movies and remember his storytelling gifts. Nothing would make him happier."
Reitmans's additional directorial credits include Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Dave (1993), Junior (1994), Evolution (2001), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), the romantic comedy No Strings Attached (2011), among others.
His final directorial effort came in 2014, with the sports drama Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner and Jennifer Garner.
After news of Reitman's death broke, many stars and filmmakers took to social media to share tributes, as well as their condolences to Reitman's family.
"Sending so much love to the great @JasonReitman for the loss of his amazing father Ivan," director Paul Feig wrote. "Jason and Ivan have always been so supportive of me throughout my career and I’ll never be able to truly repay them both. This is such a sad day. ❤️❤️❤️"
Sending so much love to the great @JasonReitman for the loss of his amazing father Ivan. Jason and Ivan have always been so supportive of me throughout my career and I’ll never be able to truly repay them both. This is such a sad day. ❤️❤️❤️ pic.twitter.com/JUCTJuIwrq
Tom Rothman, Chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, shared a statement with ET memorializing Reitman: "Tonight, the lady with the torch weeps, as do all of us at Columbia, and film lovers around the world. Ivan Reitman was an inseparable part of this studio's legacy, but more than that he was a friend. A great talent and an even finer man; he will be dearly missed. We send his family all our condolences."
Here are some of the posts celebrating Reitman's indelible legacy:
RIP to the great Ivan Reitman. What more can be said about GHOSTBUSTERS? Pure glorious entertainment. DAVE is a masterpiece I absolutely adore. So many gifts to my generation of film lovers and makers. Condolences to his family.
no director made me laugh harder with seemingly throw away bits that were anything but... RIP Ivan Reitman!! after spending the 80's answering ANY phone with GHOSTBUSTERS, WHADAYAWANT? my best friend and I spent the next ten years throwing this line into any conversation. pic.twitter.com/tfHK1VrRdp