Ivan Reitman, a prolific film producer who also became a director of foundational comedy films that ushered in a generation of comedic talents such as Ghostbusters and Stripes, died in his sleep Saturday night at his home in Montecito, California.

Reitman’s children JasonCatherine, and Caroline Reitman confirmed their father’s passing in a statement. “Our family is grieving the unexpected loss of a husband, father, and grandfather who taught us to always seek the magic in life. 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’s first smash success came when he produced the comedy National Lampoon’s Animal House, and from there he sharpened his comedic sensibilities as a director with comedy after comedy through the 80s and 90s.

Ivan Reitman was born in the town of Komárno in Czechoslovakia, a predominantly ethnic-Hungarian community, on October 27, 1946, to Klara (née Raab) and Ladislav “Leslie” Reitman. Reitman’s mother was a survivor of Auschwitz and his father was an underground resistance fighter. His family moved to Canada when he was 4 years old as refugees.

Reitman graduated high school from Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto and began producing short films while attending McMaster University. His first major producing credits were early David Cronenberg films Shivers and Rabid, but his name quickly became synonymous with comedy when Animal House came out the year after Rabid.

Reitman’s film Meatballs gave Bill Murray his first major starring role after he departed Saturday Night Live, and the two would go on to work together to create many iconic characters over the next years.

The ensemble of his films was often a highlight for Reitman’s works, with high-chemistry casts, and unusually great choices for stars including Murray and also Arnold Schwarzenegger for his first comedic role in Twins with Danny DeVito.

Even though Reitman would go on to focus primarily on producing in the mid-to-late 90s through the rest of his career, you will still see his name on some iconic films of those times like his son Jason Reitman’s Up In The Air. Reitman’s impact on comedies, and the film world in general, is completely undeniable

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