Acclaimed filmmaker Ivan Reitman has died at age 75. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the director died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday night at his home in Monticello, California. Reitman’s early success came from his producing credit on Animal House, and he is best remembered for directing a number of Bill Murray movies, including Ghostbusters, Ghostbusters II, Meatballs, and Stripes. His hits continued into the 1990s with comedies like Kindergarten Cop, Dave, and Junior.
The Czechoslovakian-born Canadian filmmaker, who first made short films at McMaster University in Hamilton, received an Oscar nomination in 2009 for producing Up in the Air, which was directed by his son, Jason Reitman. He also produced last year’s Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which Jason directed. His most recent feature directing credits include My Super Ex-Girlfriend, No Strings Attached, and Draft Day. IMDB lists two upcoming projects with him as director: Triplets and Summer of Love. The current status of those is unknown at this time.
Reitman’s children Jason, Catherine, and Caroline issued a joint statement that reads: “Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life. 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.”
Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group chairman and CEO Tom Rothman expressed that “Tonight, the lady with the torch weeps, as do all of us at Columbia, and film lovers around the world. Ivan Reitman was an inseparable part of this studio’s legacy, but more than that he was a friend. A great talent and an even finer man; he will be dearly missed. We send his family all our condolences.”
Reitman spoke with Screen Rant this past November about his son taking over the Ghosbusters franchise. “I started weeping way back, as soon as Jason told me the story. The very first time that he explained that he thought he had a Ghostbusters idea that he was considering doing, he told me the story, and I could feel the emotionality of it and how it was such the right idea to continue this story that I was fortunate enough to direct in ’84.”