According to his family, Reitman passed away peacefully Saturday night in Montecito (Calif.), as reported by The Associated Press.
In a joint statement, Jason Reitman, Catherine Reitman, and Caroline Reitman stated that their family is mourning the sudden loss of a father, husband, and grandfather who taught them to always look for the magic in life. We take comfort in the fact that his films brought joy and laughter to many others all over the globe. We are grieving privately but we know that those who were able to see his films through their memories will always remember him.
Reitman is known for his witty comedies that capture the spirit of the times. His big break came with "National Lampoon’s Animal House," a college fraternity show Reitman produced. He directed Bill Murray's first major role in "Meatballs", followed by "Stripes" in 1981. But his greatest success was with "Ghostbusters" in 1984.
The irreverent supernatural comedy starring Murray and Dan Aykroyd, Harold Ramis and Ernie Hudson made nearly $300 million worldwide. It also earned two Oscar nominations. Jason Reitman, his son, was the director.
Paul Feig, the director of "Ghostbusters," tweeted that he was shocked.
Feig wrote, "I had the privilege of working so closely Ivan and that was always such an educational experience." He directed some of my favourite comedies. We all owe him so much in comedy.
Kumail Nanjiani, comedian and actor, tweeted "A legend." "The absurdity of the number of great movies that he made."
He also directed "Twins," the "Kindergarten Cop", "Dave", "Junior" as well as 1998's "Six Days, Seven Nights." He produced "Beethoven," the "Old School", and "EuroTrip," as well as many other films, including his Oscar-nominated film "Up in the Air."
His father, Komarno in Czechoslovakia was his father's largest vinegar factory. His mother survived Auschwitz, and his father was part of the resistance. The communists began to imprison capitalists following the war. Ivan Reitman was just 4. They traveled on the nailed-down barge hold heading for Vienna in the cramped holds.
Reitman said that he remembers flashes of scenes in 1979 to the AP. "They later told me that they gave me two sleeping pills to make sure I didn't make any noise. I was so drained that I could not see my eyes while I slept. My parents were afraid that I would die.
The Reitmans were reunited with a relative in Toronto where Ivan showed his showbiz skills -- starting a puppet theatre, performing at summer camps, and playing coffee houses with a folk band. After studying music and drama at McMaster University, Hamilton, Ontario, he began to make movie shorts.
Reitman, $12,000 and friends, made "Cannibal Girls", a nine-day film that American International released. Reitman produced "Greed", a weekly TV show, on a budget of $500. He was also associated with the Lampoon group, which featured Murray, Gilda Radner, John Belushi and Gilda Radner. This led to the creation of "Animal House."
After the huge success of "Animal House," Reitman took advantage and raised money for "Meatballs," a more gentle version of the "Animal House" series.
Murray was selected by Reitman to star. This would be a major break for the comedian. However, Ramis later stated that Reitman wasn't sure if Murray would show up on the first day. It was the beginning of a long-lasting partnership that would produce "Stripes," a war comedy about the Vietnam War. Reitman claimed that he first thought of it while on his way to "Meatballs," and "Ghostbusters."
Reitman took humor and the power to laugh seriously.
"The great cliche is all about how tough comedy can be. He told the Los Angeles Times that nobody gives it any respect in 2000. It's so visceral to laugh. It takes a lot of work to get 600 people laughing. I believe we are laughing at the same things that we have always laughed at. But the language of the performer and the filmmaker shifts.