Harold Ramis Vs Bill Murray: Film Duo Didn't Speak For 10 Years Following 'Groundhog Day' Feud
Bill Murray and Harold Ramis ascended to the top of the comedy mountain simultaneously and collaboratively; neither's careers would have reached such monumental heights had the two not scaled the treacherous showbiz slope together.
It may come as a surprise to some, then, that the two funnymen didn't speak for over a decade after finishing their most acclaimed collaboration, 1993's "Groundhog Day."
Although "Groundhog Day" only received above-average reviews when it was released, it is now considered one of the greatest films of all time. The brilliant fusion of humor and existential philosophy is unparalleled in modern cinema.
Bill Murray's deadpan delivery supplements Ramis' sharp script, the writing of which was a constant point of contention for the two stars.
In a 2004 "New Yorker" essay, "Groundhog Day" screenwriter Danny Rubin revealed that Murray sought a more serious tone while Ramis was focused on the comedic.
"They were pretty far apart on what the movie was about-Bill wanted it to be more philosophical, and Harold kept reminding him it was a comedy," Rubin told The New Yorker.
Ramis was apparently disgusted by Murray's behavior.
"At times, Bill was just really irrationally mean and unavailable; he was constantly late on set," Ramis said. "What I'd want to say to him is just what we tell our children: 'You don't have to throw tantrums to get what you want. Just say what you want.'"
It should be noted that Murray's marriage was collapsing at the time, which may have contributed to his combative attitude.
Making "Groundhog Day" was so upsetting that Ramis and Murray stopped talking—for over ten years.
According to Tad Friend from the New Yorker, "Some of the pair's friends believe that Murray resents how large a role Ramis had in creating the Murray persona. Michael Shamberg, a Hollywood producer who has known Ramis since college and who used to let Murray sleep on his couch, says, 'Bill owes everything to Harold, and he probably has a thimbleful of gratitude.'"
Ramis was deeply saddened by his fallout with Murray.
"It's a huge hole in my life," Ramis said. "But there are so many pride issues about reaching out."
When Murray was contacted by The New Yorker about the possibility of reconciling with Ramis, Murray said, "I've thought about it, and I really don't have anything to say."
Murray gave this statement to TIME following Ramis' death:
"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."