Tributes are pouring in for Ivan Reitman, the filmmaker, and producer best known for Ghostbusters and Animal House. His family announced his death on Sunday. He was 75 at the time of his death.
According to a joint statement from Reitman’s family, he passed away quietly at his home in California on Saturday night. There was no mention of a cause of death.
He was a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always look for the magic in our lives,” stated Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman, and Caroline Reitman, the three adult children of the filmmaker of The Reitmans, in a statement.
This is comforting to us since we know that his work as a filmmaker has provided joy and amusement to so many others.” For those who only know him through his films, we hope that he’ll be remembered forever.
Reitman made his name as a producer of David Cronenberg’s early work, but he made his name as a director of National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978.
After directing an unknown Bill Murray in Meatballs the next year, Reitman took the first step in what would become one of his most acclaimed artistic partnerships.
From there, it was just a matter of hopping, skipping, and leaping into the legendary comedy material. The 1980s and 1990s saw Reitman score a number of critical and commercial successes as a filmmaker, including the 1981 film Stripes (again with Murray), the 1988 film Twins, the 1990 film Kindergarten Cop, and the 1994 film Junior.
Reitman’s career as a Hollywood titan was cemented, however, with the 1984 hit film Ghostbusters. There have been numerous sequels to this critically praised film, including this year’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which grossed $242 million in the United States alone.
Afterlife, the film directed by his son Jason, acted as a spiritual handing of the baton. During the production of his son’s picture, Reitman was reportedly moved to tears by a preview.
A year ago, Jason told Empire magazine that his father hasn’t left the house much because of COVID. After taking the exam and getting dressed in a mask, the director drove to the Sony lot and viewed the film with the studio. That was followed by tears and the statement, “I’m so pleased to be your father.” It was a life-changing experience.
In 1946, Reitman was born in Czechoslovakia to an Auschwitz survivor and a member of the underground resistance movement. When he was four years old, his family fled communist oppression and moved to Toronto.
On the 1979 trip, “I remember flashes of scenes,” Reitman said, per the AP. After that, I was informed of the sleeping medications that had been administered to keep me from making any noise. I slept with my eyes open because I was so drowsy. “My parents feared I had died,” I recall saying.
About sixty years later, Reitman was awarded the Order of Canada for his work as a director and producer as well as his efforts to promote the Canadian film and television industries.
While working as a producer for the Beethoven films, a series featuring a cute Saint Bernard named Beethoven, Reitman went on a run of success with 1996’s Space Jam.
“The purest and most complicated,” Reitman said in an interview with The Daily Beast in 2016, of his four Murray films, Ghostbusters was “the strongest.”
Reitman claimed that with Ghostbusters, “the tale was the alpha.” “You couldn’t just make up whatever was in your thoughts about it because it was essential. It was necessary to pay attention to the tale as well.