Ivan Reitman, the beloved director of the original “Ghostbusters” and producer of hits like “Animal House,” died Saturday night in his sleep at his home in Montecito, California.
“Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life,” His children, Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman and Caroline Reitman, said in a joint statement shared with the Associated Press. 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.”
Reitman’s first hit was the 1978 college comedy, “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” which he produced and John Landis directed, and which launched the film career of “Saturday Night Live” star John Belushi. He went on to direct fellow “SNL” star Bill Murray in his first big-screen starring role in “Meatballs” and the Army comedy “Stripes.” His biggest hit, however, was with 1984’s “Ghostbusters.”
The comedy spawned a hit franchise, including 1989’s “Ghostbusters II.” His son, Jason, directed the most recent installment, 2021’s “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” on which Ivan was also a producer.
Reitman also directed three Arnold Schwarzenegger comedies — 1988’s “Twins,” 1990’s “Kindergarten Cop” and “Junior” in 1994.
Other directing credits include the Harrison Ford/Anne Heche romantic comedy “Six Days Seven Nights” and 2011’s “No Strings Attached” starring Natalie Portman and Ashton Kutcher. The last film Reitman directed was 2014’s “Draft Day,” starring Kevin Costner.
Reitman — whose family emigrated from post-war Czechoslovakia to Toronto, Canada, when he was 4 years-old — was made an Officer of the Order of Canada in 2009 “for his contributions as a director and producer, and for his promotion of the Canadian film and television industries.”
Editor’s note: A previous headline erroneously referred to Reitman as the director of “Animal House” rather than the producer. TheWrap regrets the error.