'Ghostbusters' director, producer Ivan Reitman dies at 75

Comedic filmmaker also directed 'Twins,' 'Kindergarten Cop,' 'Dave'
Ivan Reitman at New York premiere of 'Ghostbusters: Afterlife'
Posted at 1:05 AM, Feb 14, 2022
and last updated 2022-02-14 01:07:05-05

Ivan Reitman, the influential filmmaker and producer behind beloved comedies from "Animal House" to "Ghostbusters," has died. He was 75.

Reitman died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, Calif., his family told The Associated Press.

"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."

Ivan Reitman, with Nastassja Kinski, Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, gets star at Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1997
Producer and director Ivan Reitman, center, is honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 5, 1997, in Los Angeles. From left, actors Natasha Kinski, Billy Crystal and Robin Williams, right, participate in the event.

Known for bawdy comedies that caught the spirit of their time, Reitman's big break came with the raucous, college fraternity sendup "National Lampoon's Animal House," which he produced. He directed Bill Murray in his first starring role in the summer camp flick "Meatballs," and then again in 1981′s "Stripes," but his most significant success came with 1984's "Ghostbusters."

Not only did the irreverent supernatural comedy starring Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis gross nearly $300 million worldwide, it earned two Oscar nominations, spawned a veritable franchise, including spinoffs, television shows and a new movie, "Ghostbusters: Afterlife," that opened this last year. His son, filmmaker Jason Reitman, directed.

Ivan Reitman and Jason Reitman at 'Tully' premiere in 2018
Director Jason Reitman, right, and his father, Ivan Reitman, arrive at the Los Angeles premiere of "Tully" at Regal Cinemas L.A. Live on Wednesday, April 18, 2018.

Among other notable films he directed are "Twins," "Kindergarten Cop," "Dave," "Junior" and 1998′s "Six Days, Seven Nights." He also produced "Beethoven," "Old School" and "EuroTrip," and many others, including his son's Oscar-nominated film "Up in the Air."