With the Hawks returning from Hollywood, it seems appropriate to recognize a Chicagoan who made it big in the film industry but always returned home, that being the late, great Harold Ramis.
Ramis was born on the city’s north side in 1944, and graduated Senn High School in Edgewater/Andersonville in 1962. He would later graduate from Washington University in St. Louis, and briefly worked in a mental health institution and was a substitute teacher in the now demolished Taylor Homes while freelancing for the Chicago Daily News, serving as the joke editor for then Chicago-based Playboy, and studying at the world famous Second City.
From there Ramis would catch his biggest break in moving to New York City to write for both National Lampoon and SCTV. But Ramis quickly proved to be Hollywood ready, both in writing, acting, and directing. His list of film credits in the world of comedy is obviously impeccable, with Animal House, Stripes, National Lampoon’s Vacation, Caddyshack, and Ghostbusters all on his resume.
And though most of Ramis’ standout work was done while clean-shaven, later in life he donned a truly rabbinical salt and pepper beard that he kept until his death earlier this year. And in that case, the world of comedy and the Chicago community lost a truly fantastic man and a truly fantastic beard.