American comedy director Ivan Reitman has died aged 75. Reitman made hugely popular films such as horror comedy in the 80s and 90s Ghostbusters and twins and Kindergarten Cop with Arnold Schwarzenegger.
Reitman died unexpectedly in his sleep, at home in his house just outside Los Angeles. “We take comfort in the fact that his work has brought joy to countless worldwide.” According to his family, “he always taught us to look for the magic in life”.
Born in 1946, Reitman fled Czechoslovakia with his parents at the age of 4 when the communists started rounding up opponents there. The family was brought to Toronto by a relative. In his youth, Reitman had a puppet theater there and started making short films for TV.
His Hollywood breakthrough came in 1978 as a producer of the cult comedy Animal House, with John Belushi. Shortly afterwards he made the films with Bill Murray meatballs† Stripes and his biggest hit Ghostbusters† The combination of humor with shock effects proved successful: worldwide the film grossed 300 million dollars.
Reitman was also a major influence on Arnold Schwarzenegger’s career. At the beginning of his career, he had mainly been given tough roles in films such as The Terminator† predator or Conan the Barbara† Reitman appealed to the humorous side of the Austrian actor, by casting the muscle bundle as the twin brother of Danny DeVito.
He cast the action hero twice more against expectations, as an undercover cop in a playgroup Kindergarten Cop and as a pregnant man in Junior, again with DeVito. As a producer, Reitman continued to work on the Beethovenseries about an affectionate Saint Bernard and the basketball cartoon Space Jamwith Michael Jordan.
Because his wood-cutting humor wasn’t exactly Oscar material, despite his success, Reitman was only nominated for the prestigious film award once: in 2010 as a producer for the satire Up in the Air with George Clooney. He lost to The Hurt Locker†
Reitman’s greatest success was recently continued under the direction of his son, Jason Reitman. He directed the sequel that hit theaters last year, Ghostbusters: Afterlife† Reitman junior had previously made a name for himself with his own films such as Juno.