"We take comfort that his work as a filmmaker brought laughter and happiness to countless others around the world," his family said in a statement.

Ivan Reitman, the producer and director behind such beloved classic comedies as Animal House, Stripes, and the first two Ghostbusters movies, has died. He was 75.

Ivan Reitman
Ivan Reitman
| Credit: Matt Sayles/AP/Shutterstock

Reitman died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, Calif., according to the Associated Press.

"Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life," his 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."

Reitman was born in Komárno, Czechoslovakia, the child of a mother who had survived the Auschwitz concentration camp and a father who was an underground resistance fighter. His family emigrated to Canada when Reitman was 4. From this unlikely background, Reitman would go on to have a hand in some of the funniest films of the late 20th century.

Reitman got his start in film producing two movies directed by David Cronenberg, 1975's Shivers and 1977's Rabid. Then in 1978, he produced his first big hit, National Lampoon's Animal House, a raucous comedy about a fraternity house starring Saturday Night Live's John Belushi. Made for $3 million, Animal House made over $140 million, becoming the highest-grossing comedy film at the time.

Ivan Reitman
Ivan Reitman
| Credit: Paul Harris/Getty Images

The following year, Reitman made his directorial debut with Meatballs, a movie about the hijinks at a summer camp featuring Bill Murray in his first starring role. Meatballs went on to become the highest-grossing Canadian film of all time.

Throughout the '80s, Reitman continued producing and directing movies including Stripes, Legal Eagles, and Twins, but it was his 1984 blockbuster Ghostbusters, and its follow-up Ghostbusters II in 1989, that cemented his status as a major director. In 2015, the Library of Congress selected Ghostbusters for preservation in the National Film Registry, the same honor bestowed to Animal House in 2001.

Reitman's other directorial credits include Kindergarten Cop, Junior, Six Days, Seven Nights, My Super Ex-Girlfriend, and No Strings Attached. Later in his career, Reitman branched out further into producing, backing films such as Beethoven, Old School, I Love You, Man, Space Jam, and most recently, its 2021 sequel Space Jam: A New Legacy. In 2021, Reitman's son Jason also continued his family's Ghostbusters legacy with Ghostbusters: Afterlife.

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