Ivan Reitman, filmmaker behind Ghostbusters, dies aged 75

Ivan Reitman, the influential filmmaker and producer behind Ghostbusters, has died aged 75.

He died peacefully in his sleep on Saturday night at his home in Montecito, California, his family told AP.

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

Known for bawdy comedies, Reitman’s big break came as the producer of National Lampoon’s Animal House. He later directed Bill Murray in his first starring role in the summer camp movie Meatballs, and then again in 1981’s Stripes.

His most significant success came with 1984’s Ghostbusters, starring Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis.

It grossed nearly $300m (£222m) worldwide and earned two Oscar nominations and spawned a franchise of spinoffs – including a TV show and new movie, which Reitman produced and his filmmaker son, Jason, directed.

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Tom Rothman, chairman and chief executive of Sony Pictures Motion Picture Group, said: “Tonight, the lady with the torch weeps, as do all of us at Columbia, and film lovers around the world. Ivan Reitman was an inseparable part of this studio’s legacy, but more than that he was a friend.

“A great talent and an even finer man; he will be dearly missed. We send his family all our condolences.”

Comedian and director Judd Apatow wrote on Twitter: “Opening night of Ghostbusters at UA Plainview was like a rock concert. The place exploded with joy. It was one of the most memorable moments of my childhood. Ivan Reitman influenced everything we all love about film comedy. A true legend.”

Ernie Hudson, who starred in the Ghostbusters series as Winston Zeddemore, added: “I am deeply saddened by the loss of Ivan’ Reitman. Truly a great man and filmmaker who I had honor and privilege of knowing and working with. Deepest condolences to Jason and the entire family. May he RIP.”

Actor Mindy Kaling said: “Ivan Reitman was old school in the best way, and kind. I loved working with him. It’s sad he’s gone, it makes me feel older and like my childhood movies are more faraway than ever.”

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