Veteran director and producer Ivan Reitman has died aged 75. Reitman’s family confirmed to the Associated Press that he died in his sleep on February 12 in Montecito, California. The family did not share a cause of death.
“Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life,” Reitman’s children, Catherine, Caroline, and Jason 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 worked on some of the biggest and best comedy movies of the ’80s – most notably Ghostbusters and Twins – and tributes have poured in from across Hollywood. “Opening night of Ghostbusters at UA Plainview was like a rock concert,” wrote Judd Apatow. “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.”
Fellow Ghostbusters director Paul Feige expressed shock at the news and thanked Reitman for his contribution to cinema. “I’m in absolute shock,” he posted. “I had the honour of working so closely with Ivan, and it was always such a learning experience. He directed some of my favourite comedies of all time. All of us in comedy owe him so very much. Thank you for everything, Ivan. Truly.”
Ivan Reitman was very good to me and @chrizmillr. He sought us out and encouraged us when we made our first movie. He saw an early cut of Spider-verse (“Half of this is the best movie I have ever seen and the other half is bad”) and spent DAYS giving us helpful notes… RIP Ivan
— Phil Lord y Betancourt (@philiplord) February 14, 2022
Tim Rothman. Sony Pictures chief executive and chairman also paid tribute to the great director/producer: “Tonight, the lady with the torch weeps, as do all of us at Columbia, and film lovers around the world,” he wrote. “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.”
"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. (1/2) pic.twitter.com/saVhBoBgFG
— Ghostbusters (@Ghostbusters) February 14, 2022
“Working with Ivan was an honour and a pleasure, and I’m so grateful that I was invited into the universe he helped to build,” said Ghostbusters: Afterlife star Carrie Coon. “One that continues to resonate with fans the world over.”
Working with Ivan was an honor and a pleasure and I’m so grateful that I was invited into the universe he helped to build, one that continues to resonate with fans the world over. 💔 pic.twitter.com/24N3L6nOjY
— Carrie Coon (@carriecoon) February 14, 2022
Reitman recently helped his son, Jason, promote the newest instalment in the Ghostbusters franchise, Ghostbusters: Afterlife. When we spoke to the younger Reitman about the film, he described it as being made for his father.
“I made this movie for my father, he explained. “He’s the first person to read the script, first person to watch the first cut. And I did not want to let him down.”