Actor, writer and director Harold Ramis was both gifted and gracious throughout his career. Ramis’ credits read like a master class in post-SNL comedy. If he had been responsible for just one of those films he would have earned his status as a comedy A-lister. His work, and his contributions to comedy will be remembered for generations to come. Screenwriter Mitch Glazer shared something in common with Harold Ramis, he was one of the few screenwriters to work repeatedly creating comedy with Bill Murray. We asked Glazer to share his impressions and memories of Ramis with us.
Mitch Glazer Remembers Harold Ramis
I knew Harold only slightly and really only through mutual friends. He called me a couple of times about projects and, like all who love great work, I was amazed at the defining comedies Harold helped bring into the world. Jaw-dropping… I do have one personal memory though.
It was at John Belushi’s funeral on Martha’s Vineyard in 1982. John’s wife Judy chose Harold, because of his deep Second City friendship with John, to give the graveside eulogy. It was a brutal, impossible moment. We were all standing around the open grave in shock and despair and Harold stepped forward. He told a sweet story about John having played the Christmas angel in, I believe, a Second City sketch and what an unlikely but perfect angel he had been. I can’t remember the exact eulogy but after the service was over, John’s mom, Agnes Belushi, came over to me and asked if I’d introduce her to the man who had spoken. I took Agnes’ arm and walked her through the mourners to Harold, standing by a wooden fence. I said, “Harold, this is John’s mother, Agnes”. Harold stepped closer to offer his condolences and Agnes said, “ ‘Christmas angel’ ?! That’s it? That’s the best you could come up with?!” I remember, after his initial surprise, Harold was so gracious and gentle with Agnes but I swear I caught a slight smile in his eyes, maybe an understanding both that the Albanian apple didn’t roll far from the tree and also the truth that in that tight Chicago circle of comedy genius, as Bill Murray put it, you were always expected to swing from your heels with sabers.
More on Harold Ramis. Read film biographer Lesley Coffin’s piece about Harold Ramis written the night of his passing. More on Mitch Glazer. Mitch created the series Magic City, which will wrap with a film in theaters in 2015. His newest film, Rock the Kasbah also hits theaters this spring.