Last night’s Oscar ceremony definitely had its share of touching moments, and Bill Murray was responsible for one of them. In a rare Oscar appearance, the comedian paid tribute to his late friend Harold Ramis while presenting the award for Best Cinematography with actress Amy Adams.
After announcing the names of the nominees, the Lost in Translation star cleverly added Harold Ramis at very end for his work in Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day. The poignant tribute was greeted by the audience with warm applause. Emmanuel Lubezki won the prize for his work in Gravity, his first Oscar after having been nominated six times.
Murray and Ramis had been friends way before their famous film collaborations. They were both members of the Chicago improv comedy troupe Second City and were recruited by fellow comedian John Belushi to join the comedy radio show, The National Lampoon Radio Hour.
After being head writer of the sketch-comedy TV series SCTV for three years, Ramis brought his writing talents to the set of the comedy film, National Lampoon’s Animal House. Ramis’ film partnership with Murray started with the comedy film Meatballs, which Ramis co-wrote and Murray starred in. In the film Caddyshack, Ramis directed Murray and other famous comedic actors like Chevy Chase, Ted Knight, and Rodney Dangerfield. But the biggest hit of the Murray-Ramis partnership is arguably Ghostbusters, which Ramis co-wrote with Saturday Night Live alum Dan Aykroyd. Murray played Dr. Peter Venkman and Ramis played Dr. Egon Spengler.
Murray and Ramis had a long feud after making Groundhog Day together, and did not speak to each other for decades. Murray, who was going through marriage problems at the time of filming, displayed erratic behavior that eventually put a strain on their relationship. In a 2004 interview with Time magazine, Ramis said that their falling out left a “huge hole” in his life.
Murray released a statement to Time magazine one day after Ramis passed away, saying that “he earned his keep on this planet”.
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