Hollywood producer and director Ivan Reitman, who is responsible for films like Ghostbusters, Meatballs, Space Jam, National Lampoon’s Animal House, and Stripes, has died at the age of 75. His family confirmed his February 12 passing to Associated Press. They share that Reitman died peacefully in his sleep at his home in Montecito, CA.
Reitman was born in Komárno, Czechslovakia, on October 27, 1946, to Hungarian Jewish parents. When he was four, his family relocated to Canada fleeing their home country’s communist dictatorship. Ivan Reitman earned a Bachelor of Music degree from McMaster University in 1969. During his time as a student, he began to create short stories and plays.
The Canadian filmmaker produced his first film, Shivers, in 1975. He then received his first major breakthrough with National Lampoon’s Animal House in 1978. Following that success, he racked up credits in the 1980s. His most notable movies became Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters II. The first film granted him recognition in the industry with two Oscar nominations. And, of course, his Ghostbusters involvement came full circle with his son Jason Reitman directing Ghostbusters: Afterlife.
His children released a statement commemorating his life and legacy, as well as asking for space to grieve the loss of their father.
“Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life,” said his children, Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman, and Caroline Reitman, in a joint statement. “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’s work undoubtedly had a profound impact on moviegoers with characters we will always love. And although he’s no longer here with us, the comedic spirit of his creativity will always resonate through his classic films.