Bill Murray on Harold Ramis: 'He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him.'

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Image Credit: Everett Collection

Harold Ramis met Bill Murray when the latter was still a teenager in the 1960s. Ramis, who was six years older, worked with Murray’s brother, Brian, at Second City in Chicago, and when he visited the Murray home in Wilmette, Ill., for the first time, Brian took him to meet Bill — at the golf course, aptly enough, where Bill ran the refreshment stand.

All three men would end up working together extensively, but it was Harold and Bill’s collaborations that defined big-screen comedy — beginning with Meatballs in 1979, running through Caddyshack, Stripes, and Ghostbusters, and culminating with Groundhog Day in 1993. The latter is widely considered both men’s best work, and though they had a falling out after that movie and never worked together again, many fans couldn’t help but think of Ramis and Murray together when they heard the sad news yesterday that Ramis had died at 69, after battling autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis for four years.

In a statement released to TIME by his lawyer, Murray said: “Harold Ramis and I together did the National Lampoon Show off Broadway, Meatballs, Stripes, Caddyshack, Ghostbusters, and Groundhog Day. He earned his keep on this planet. God bless him.”

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