The Story Behind Bill Murray And Harold Ramis’ 21-Year Rift

For a good many years, actors Bill Murray and Harold Ramis were like two peas in a pod, starring alongside each other in movies like Stripes, the Ghostbusters series, and Groundhog Day. After the success of Animal House and Meatballs, Ramis decided that he would step behind the camera to direct. Everything that Murray and Ramis touched had turned to gold, but in 1991 they began working on Groundhog Day, which would turn out to be the albatross that would drive a wedge between them. In the film, its main character — played by Bill Murray — finds himself in a loop, repeating the same day over and over. During the filming, Murray’s life was tumultuous. His marriage was dissolving, and his demeanor on set was increasingly erratic. He would show up late, throw tantrums, and generally disagree with many of Ramis’ choices. While Ramis wanted the film to be a straightforward comedy, Murray wanted the film to be more contemplative. With their professional relationship strained, Ramis sent screenwriter Danny Rubin to work with Murray on the script instead of holding their usual collaborative writing sessions. When Ramis would call to check on their progress, Murray would ignore the phone calls. Despite their growing rift, Groundhog Day was another huge hit for the pair, but after the film finished shooting, Murray refused to speak to Ramis. The golden run of Ramis-Murray had come to an end and — propelled by a toxic cocktail of indelible bitterness — the pair wouldn’t speak again for 21 years. In 2010, Ramis developed Autoimmune Inflammatory Vasculitis, a disease characterized by the swelling of the blood vessels. In 2014, his health began to severely deteriorate and he contracted an infection related to the disease. Murray’s brother, actor Brian Doyle Murray (who played the mayor in Groundhog Day), convinced his brother to visit Ramis as he lay dying, and the two buried the hatchet.