Canadian Filmmaker Ivan Reitman, 'Ghostbusters' Director, Dead at 75

The acclaimed director, producer and writer brought a prolific catalogue of beloved comedies to the world

BY Megan LaPierrePublished Feb 14, 2022

Influential Canadian filmmaker, producer and Ghostbusters director Ivan Reitman has died. He was 75.

Reitman passed away peacefully in his sleep on Saturday (February 12) at his home in Montecito, CA, his family told the Associated Press. A cause of death has yet to be revealed. 

"Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life," his children Caroline, Catherine and Jason Reitman said 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."

Born in Czechoslovakia and raised in Toronto, Reitman leaves a lasting legacy on the city's International Film festival in quite a literal sense: TIFF's Lightbox headquarters downtown was formerly the site of a car wash operated by Reitman's parents [via The Globe and Mail]. Alongside home developer the Daniels Corporation, the Reitman family donated their land to TIFF — and without it, the festival might not exist as we know it today.

Reitman studied music and drama at McMaster University in Hamilton before beginning his prolific output as a director, producer and writer. His raunchy comedic stylings landed their first big break when he produced the 1978 fraternity satire National Lampoon's Animal House. The following year, Reitman went on to direct Bill Murray in his first starring role in the summer camp classic Meatballs and then again in 1981's Stripes.

But Reitman's greatest success story remains that of box-office smash Ghostbusters, directing the first film in 1984 and Ghostbusters II in 1989. Last year, his son Jason successfully resurrected the franchise with Ghostbusters: Afterlife, which the late filmmaker also produced.

His other notable production credits include his son's Oscar-nominated Up in the Air, Beethoven, Old School and EuroTrip, while we played the directorial role on the likes of Kindergarten Cop, Twins, Dave, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, No Strings Attached and Six Days, Seven Nights.

"I've lost my hero," Jason wrote on Twitter this morning. "All I want is the chance to tell my father one more story."

See the director's moving tribute to his father below.

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