‘Ghostbusters’ director Ivan Reitman dead at 75

MONTECITO, Calif. — Legendary producer-director Ivan Reitman, who brought audiences the likes of “Ghostbusters,” “Meatballs” and “Stripes,” died peacefully in his sleep Saturday night at the age of 75, his family confirmed to The Associated Press on Sunday.

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“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.”

Reitman, a Czechoslovakia native raised in Canada, cut his comedic teeth with the release of 1978′s “National Lampoon’s Animal House,” but his work delighted audiences throughout the ‘70s and ‘80s, with “Ghostbusters” setting an impossibly high bar.

According to the AP, not only did the irreverent supernatural comedy starring Bill Murray, Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis, Ernie Hudson, Sigourney Weaver and Rick Moranis gross nearly $300 million worldwide, it earned two Oscar nominations, spawned a veritable franchise, including spinoffs, television shows and a new movie, “Ghostbusters: Afterlife,” that opened this past year and was directed by his son, filmmaker Jason Reitman.

The elder Reitman also brought audiences the likes of “Twins,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Junior,” “Old School” and “Beethoven,” Variety reported.

In 2009, he co-produced “Up in the Air,” a comedy-drama starring George Clooney as a peripatetic corporate downsizing specialist. Directed and co-written by his son Jason, the film garnered an Academy Award nod for best picture and collected the Oscar for best adapted screenplay, the entertainment news outlet reported.

Reitman studied music and drama at McMaster University in Hamilton, Ontario, the AP reported.

-- The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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