"It's easy to grin
"When your ship comes in
"And you've got the stock market beat.
"But the man worthwhile,
"Is the man who can smile,
"When his shorts are too tight in the seat."
- Judge Smails (Ted Knight) in "Caddyshack"
For the last 35 years or so, the funniest movies that hit the big screen all seemed to have one name attached to them - Harold Ramis.
Whether in front of the camera, directing or producing, or writing the scripts, Ramis was a man who made America laugh. Often, he wrote the films as well as starred in them.
Films like "Ghostbusters," "Stripes," "Caddyshack," "Back to School," "National Lampoon's Vacation" and "Groundhog Day" were all at least partially penned by Ramis. The first film we can remember his name attached to was "National Lampoon's Animal House," a 1970s treasure he co-wrote.
He starred with or wrote for the greatest comic actors of this generation, including Bill Murray, Rodney Dangerfield, Chevy Chase, Billy Crystal, John Belushi and John Candy.
According to Internet Movie Database (IMDb.com), he had 23 credits as an actor, 15 credits as a producer and 14 credits as a director - and an incredible 36 credits as a writer.
Harold Ramis died Monday of vasculitis, an inflammation of the blood vessels. Ramis' condition was linked to an autoimmune disorder. He had such a prolific and successful career, though, that he will live on through his work.
Ramis had a gift that he shared with all of us. As long as there's a cable station playing "Ghostbusters," Ramis will be remembered in the laughter.
Dr. Egon Spengler (Ramis): "I'm worried, Ray. It's getting crowded in there and all my data points to something big on the horizon."
Winston Zeddemore (Ernie Hudson): "What do you mean, big?"
Dr. Egon Spengler: "Well, let's say this Twinkie represents the normal amount of psychokinetic energy in the New York area. Based on this morning's sample, it would be a Twinkie . . . 35 feet long, weighing approximately 600 pounds."
* Editorials reflect the opinion of the publisher.