Ivan Reitman, “Ghostbusters” and “Dave” Director, Dead at 75

He left his mark on onscreen comedy

Ivan Reitman
Film producer and director Ivan Reitman, UK, 4th December 1984.
Hilaria McCarthy/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

For a generation of fans of onscreen comedy, Ivan Reitman was behind some of the most beloved films out there. He helmed Ghostbusters, Stripes and Dave — among many others, and produced even more high-profile movies, including Space Jam and Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which was directed by his son Jason.

Reitman’s long career came to an end on Saturday, when he died at his home at the age of 75.

“We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world,” his children said in a statement. “While we mourn privately, we hope those who knew him through his films will remember him always.”

Reitman worked on several of the films that transformed Bill Murray from SNL breakout to movie star, including Stripes and Meatballs. He also worked on several of the films that saw Arnold Schwarzenegger pivot from action star into comedy, including Twins and Kindergarten Cop. As a producer, he worked on an even broader array of films, including Animal House and Old School.

At a time when a dearth of high-profile comedies has been repeatedly noted, it’s also not hard to see the influence of Reitman’s bigger-budget works (Ghostbusters especially) on a legion of blockbuster films that blend adventure with comedy. The sheer scale of Reitman’s impact on cinematic comedies — and on movies as a whole — is massive.

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