Hollywood News

Ivan Reitman, Director of ‘Ghostbusters’, Dies at 75; Hollywood Pays Tribute

Ivan Reitman, who directed and produced the first two films in the Ghostbusters franchise, died in his sleep at his home in California, on Saturday, his family told the Associated Press. He was 75.


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

Born in 1946, Reitman was four years old when his family escaped the communist regime in erstwhile Czechoslovakia and moved to Toronto, Canada. He studied music and drama at the McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario.

Reitman started out by producing for television and the stage. His first commercial venture as a movie producer came with the 1975 film Shivers, followed by Rabid (1977) and National Lampoon’s Animal House (1978).

His directorial break came with the 1979 film Meatballs, which starred Bill Murray. Meatballs kickstarted a long collaboration between Reitman and Murray, and the two went on to work on multiple projects, including Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), and Ghostbusters II (1989).

His other notable association was with actor Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made his comedy debut opposite Danny DeVito in Reitman’s Twins (1988). Schwarzenegger was only known as an action star up until that point. In September 2021, a sequel titled Triplets was announced, to be produced and directed by Reitman, with Tracy Morgan joining Schwarzenegger and DeVito as their long lost brother. The film was meant to go on floors this year.

By the time his second film with Schwarzenegger, Kindergarten Cop (1990) released, Reitman had established himself as the most successful comedy director in history. However, he slowed down on direction work during the 90s, and helmed only three projects, Dave (1993), Junior (1994), and Six Days, Seven Nights (1998). The 2000s saw even fewer films directed by Reitman. No Strings Attached (2011) and Draft Day (2014) were his last directorial ventures.

Reitman’s directorial slowdown coincided with an increased output on the production front. His last production venture was Ghostbusters: After Life (2021), directed by his son Jason Reitman. He also served as an executive producer on Space Jam: A New Legacy that same year.

Reitman is survived by his wife Genevieve Roberts, daughters Catherine and Caroline, and son Jason.

Several members of Hollywood paid tribute to the late director.


In a long note on Twitter, Schwarzenegger called Reitman comedy royalty, a great director and friend who took a chance and made a comedy film with him. The actor added that he was devastated by the news of his demise. “I’ll always be grateful that he took a chance on this Austrian action-hero in a comedy during a time when the studios just wanted me to focus on finding new ways to kill bad guys, blow things up and show off some muscle,” he wrote.

“Making Twins, Junior, and Kindergarten Cop with Ivan was heaven for me. Spending the last few years working with him on Triplets, and once again seeing his passion and genius up close, was a joy. Just last week, I was talking about how excited I was to be on set again with Ivan this fall,” he added.

Actor and comedian Kumail Nanjiani wrote on Twitter, “A legend. The number of great movies he made is absurd. RIP.”


Paul Feig, director of Ghostbusters (2016), which was produced by Reitman, tweeted, “I’m in absolute shock. 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.”

Actor and producer Mindy Kaling, who starred in No Strings Attached, 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. RIP”