Ivan Reitman, director of Ghostbusters and Twins, died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday at the age of 75. His family confirmed the news to the AP.
“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 to the outlet.
The statement continues, “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 was born in Czechoslovakia on October 27, 1946, but Toronto would become his home at the age of 4. His family moved to Canada where a relative was already established.
His big break came in 1978 when he produced National Lampoon’s Animal House which he followed up with a directing gig in Meatballs a year later. That opened the doors for him in comedy, landing producing and directing gigs in Stripes, Twins, Kindergarten Cop, Dave, Space Jam, and No Strings Attached.
But his biggest hit would be the supernatural hit comedy, Ghostbusters in 1984, starring Dan Aykroyd and Harold Ramis, who penned the screenplay, and Bill Murray, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver, Rick Moranis, and Annie Potts. It was the second highest-grossing film of the year following Beverly Hills Cop.
The film earned two Academy Award nominations: Best Original Song for “Ghostbusters” by Ray Parker, and Best Visual Effects.
He followed that up with a sequel, Ghostbusters II, five years later also as director and producer.
It would take more than three decades for the franchise’s third installment Ghostbuster: Afterlife, released in 2021. Reitman produced and Jason directed.
Ivan Reitman also revisited the Space Jam franchise last year, serving as producer of A New Legacy starring LeBron James, Don Cheadle, Sonequa Martin-Green, and Zendaya.