"You can have a pretty wonderful artistic life and never leave Chicago."
-- Harold Ramis
Harold Ramis is a very successful TV and movie actor, director, writer, and producer who is best known for his innovative comedies. He was born in Chicago on Nov. 21, 1944 and currently makes his primary home on the North Side even though he also stays part time in California when he is making films. When he was growing up, his parents Nate and Ruth Ramis owned a store on the West Side called Ace Food and Liquor Mart. At age seven, Harold started working in the store on weekends. Harold attended Senn High School at 5900 N. Glenwood where he wrote in his yearbook that he wanted to be a neurosurgeon. Harold was on the fencing team at Senn and his older brother Steve Ramis was city champion in fencing in the middle 1960s.
Harold studied at Washington University in St. Louis and graduated in 1967. In 1968 Harold was writing the party jokes column for Playboy which was then headquartered in The Palmolive Building at 919 N. Michigan Avenue. One Saturday night that year he auditioned for the resident company of The Second City Theater and worked there for about a year and a half. In 1974, John Belushi of Wheaton asked Harold, Bill Murray of Wilmette, and other Second City alumni to come to New York to work on "The National Lampoon Radio Hour."
Harold Ramis has cast himself in bit parts in several of his movies. He had major parts in Stripes (1981) and Ghostbusters (1993) but most of his work has been writing, directing, and producing. While Belushi, Murray, and others were becoming visible on Saturday Night Live, Harold Ramis was was a principal writer on the film script that became National Lampoon's Animal House which was based on some of Harold's college experiences and those of other writers. In 1979, Harold joined with Doug Kenny and Bill Murray's older brother Brian Doyle Murray in writing Caddyshack.
The many writing credits of Harold Ramis include Animal House, Stripes, Ghostbusters, Caddyshack, Groundhog Day, Multiplicity, Analyze This, and The Ice Harvest.
In November 2006, Harold took a spin at film analysis and criticism when he filled in for Roger Ebert on the Ebert & Roeper show when Ebert was recovering from surgery. Harold has been married twice and has one child from his first marriage and two from his second. The family lives in Chicago.