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Ivan Reitman

Front Runner 08 (44849853362) (cropped).jpg
Reitman in 2018
Born (1946-10-27)October 27, 1946
Komárno, Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia)
Died February 12, 2022(2022-02-12) (aged 75)
Nationality Canadian
Alma mater McMaster University
Occupation Filmmaker
Years active 1968–2022
Notable work
Geneviève Robert
(m. 1976)
Children 3, including Jason and Catherine

Ivan Reitman OC ( /ˈrtmən/; October 27, 1946 – February 12, 2022) was a Czechoslovak-born Canadian filmmaker. He was best known for his comedy work, especially in the 1980s and 1990s. He was the owner of The Montecito Picture Company, founded in 1998.

Films he directed include Meatballs (1979), Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), Twins (1988), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Dave (1993), and Junior (1994). Reitman also served as producer for such films as National Lampoon's Animal House (1978), Space Jam (1996), and Private Parts (1997).

Early life

Ivan Reitman was born in the predominantly ethnic Hungarian town of Komárno (known as Komárom in Hungarian), Czechoslovakia (now Slovakia), on October 27, 1946, the son of Klara (Raab) and Ladislav "Leslie" Reitman. Both of Reitman's parents were Jewish; his mother survived the Auschwitz concentration camp, and his father was an underground resistance fighter. His family arrived in Canada as refugees when Reitman was four years old. Reitman attended Oakwood Collegiate in Toronto and was a member of the Twintone Four singing group. He attended McMaster University, receiving a Bachelor of Music in 1969. At McMaster he produced and directed many short films.


Reitman's first producing job was with the then-new station CITY-TV in Toronto. CITY was also the home of the first announcing job of his later friend and collaborator Dan Aykroyd. However, Reitman's tenure at CITY was short and he was fired during his first year by station owner Moses Znaimer.

In Toronto, he produced the stage production Spellbound (1973) which evolved into Broadway production The Magic Show.

Ivan Reitman 2011
Reitman in 2011

Reitman's first commercial film ventures were as producer of two films for director David Cronenberg, Shivers (1975) and Rabid (1977). His big break came when he produced National Lampoon's Animal House in 1978 and directed Meatballs in 1979. From there, he directed and produced a number of comedies including Stripes (1981), Ghostbusters (1984), Legal Eagles (1986), Twins (1988), Ghostbusters II (1989), Kindergarten Cop (1990), Dave (1993), Junior (1994), Six Days, Seven Nights (1998), Evolution (2001), My Super Ex-Girlfriend (2006), and No Strings Attached (2011).

In the early 1990s, Reitman began to direct fewer films, but increased his role as a producer and executive producer through his company, Northern Lights Entertainment. He helped to produce the animated film Heavy Metal (1981), as well as the live-action films Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone (1983), Beethoven (1992), Beethoven's 2nd (1993), Space Jam (1996), Howard Stern's film Private Parts (1997)

In 1998, Reitman founded The Montecito Picture Company, a film production company located just south of Santa Barbara. In 2007, Reitman was inducted into Canada's Walk of Fame.

He next produced the comedy I Love You, Man (2009), starring Paul Rudd and Jason Segel. Also in 2009, he produced the Academy Award-nominated film, Up in the Air, directed by his son Jason Reitman. Later, Reitman had planned to direct the thriller Chloe (2009), but he couldn't attract the cast he wanted; so Reitman decided to only serve as a producer and asked Atom Egoyan to direct the film. Chloe has since enjoyed commercial success and became Egoyan's biggest moneymaker ever.

In his final decade, Reitman also co-produced the biographical film Hitchcock, released on November 23, 2012, directed the 2014 sports drama Draft Day, starring Kevin Costner, and served as executive producer on 2021's Space Jam: A New Legacy as he had done for the first film.

In mid-January 2019, news of a new Ghostbusters film, Ghostbusters: Afterlife, came through with Ivan's son Jason Reitman taking over as co-writer and director. Ivan remained producer, and stood in for Ramis as Egon Spengler using digital makeup. The film was released on November 19, 2021, marking his final film before his death.

Unmade projects

In the early 1980s, Tom Mankiewicz wrote a script for a film entitled The Batman, with Reitman attached to direct. He planned to cast Meatballs star Bill Murray as Batman, David Niven as Alfred Pennyworth, William Holden as Commissioner James Gordon, and singer David Bowie as Joker. Following the deaths of Holden and Niven and rewrites of the script, Reitman left the project and was replaced by Gremlins director Joe Dante, but the film was never made.

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Reitman in 2013

In April 1996, it was reported that Reitman was attached to produce, and possibly direct, a Wonder Woman film. However, three years later, he passed the project on to writer Jon Cohen and left for unknown reasons.

In 2000, Reitman along with Wolfgang Petersen, Rob Reiner, M. Night Shyamalan, Alan Parker, Tim Robbins, Terry Gilliam, Brad Silberling and Peter Weir were considered to direct Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone but the directing job was given to Chris Columbus instead.

In March 2007, New York magazine, citing no sources, stated that Sony Pictures Entertainment wanted to replace Reitman on Ghostbusters III with a younger director, but that Reitman's original contract precluded this. In early 2010, it appeared as if Reitman would direct the film, but in September 2014, after Harold Ramis' death, Paul Feig was officially set to direct a new film, which was released in 2016 as a reboot of the franchise.

In March 2012, it was reported that a sequel of Twins, entitled Triplets, was in the works, and that Reitman would co-produce the film. Deadline reported in September 2021 that Reitman would both direct and produce Triplets and that shooting was scheduled to begin in January 2022. The status of the film is unclear following Reitman's death.

In 2013, it was revealed that Reitman had plans to make a sequel to Evolution, but they never came to fruition.

In June 2016, it was reported that Reitman would produce a prospective animated series Ghostbusters: Ecto Force. In July 2017, Reitman stated that Ecto Force had been postponed to focus on an animated Ghostbusters film that he would produce and co-direct alongside Fletcher Moules.

Personal life and death

Reitman married Geneviève Robert in 1976. He had two daughters and a son, Jason, who is a film director best known for his films Juno, Thank You for Smoking, Up in the Air and Ghostbusters: Afterlife. His daughter Catherine is the creator, executive producer, writer and star of the CBC comedy series Workin' Moms. His other daughter, Caroline, attended Santa Barbara City College. He and his French-Canadian wife, who converted to Judaism, brought up their children in the same tradition.

In 2009, he was made an Officer of the Order of Canada "for his contributions as a director and producer, and for his promotion of the Canadian film and television industries". In April 2011, he received the Mayor's Prize at his native city of Komárno, Slovakia. He received the Queen Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Medal in 2012.

In 2014, he said "I've always been something of a conservative-slash-libertarian."

Reitman died in his sleep at his home in Montecito, California, on February 12, 2022, at the age of 75.



Year Title Director Producer Writer Notes
1968 Orientation Yes Yes Yes Short film;
Also editor, cinematographer and composer
1971 Foxy Lady Yes Yes No Also editor and composer
1973 Cannibal Girls Yes Executive Story
1979 Meatballs Yes No No Golden Reel Award
1981 Stripes Yes Yes No
1984 Ghostbusters Yes Yes No Voice role: "Zuul / Slimer"
1986 Legal Eagles Yes Yes Story
1988 Twins Yes Yes No
1989 Ghostbusters II Yes Yes No Voice role: "Man Walking Outside Firehouse / Slimer"
1990 Kindergarten Cop Yes Yes No
1993 Dave Yes Yes No
1994 Junior Yes Yes No
1997 Fathers' Day Yes Yes No
1998 Six Days, Seven Nights Yes Yes No
2001 Evolution Yes Yes No
2006 My Super Ex-Girlfriend Yes No No
2011 No Strings Attached Yes Yes No Cameo: "Secret High director"
2014 Draft Day Yes Yes No

Producer only

Year Title Notes
1975 Shivers Also music supervisor
1976 Death Weekend
1977 Ilsa, the Tigress of Siberia As "Julian Parnell"
1978 Animal House
1981 Heavy Metal
1992 Stop! Or My Mom Will Shoot
1996 Space Jam
1997 Private Parts
2009 Post Grad
Up in the Air Nominated—Academy Award for Best Picture
2012 Hitchcock
2016 Ghostbusters
2017 Baywatch
Father Figures
2020 A Babysitter's Guide to Monster Hunting
2021 Ghostbusters: Afterlife Also motion capture role, with Harold Ramis' likeness superimposed

Final film project

Executive producer only

Year Title Notes
1977 Rabid Also music supervisor
1978 Blackout
1973 The Magic Show
1983 Spacehunter: Adventures in the Forbidden Zone
1987 Big Shots
1988 Feds
1992 Beethoven
1993 Beethoven's 2nd
1997 Commandments
2000 Road Trip
2002 Killing Me Softly
2003 Old School
2004 EuroTrip
2006 Trailer Park Boys: The Movie
2007 Disturbia
2009 Hotel for Dogs
The Uninvited
I Love You, Man
2020 Godmothered
2021 Space Jam: A New Legacy


Year Title Director Writer Executive
1997 Metropolitan Hospital No Creator Yes Unsold pilot
2004 Cooking Lessons Yes No No TV movie

Producer only

Year Title Notes
2006 That Guy TV movie
2008 Atom TV 5 episodes (segments "Border Patrol")

Executive producer only

Year Title Notes
1979 Delta House 13 episodes
1994 Beethoven 13 episodes
1996 The Late Shift TV movie
1997 Mummies Alive! 42 episodes
1999 The First Gentleman TV movie
2001–02 Alienators: Evolution Continues 13 episodes
2006 That Guy TV movie

Music videos

Year Song Artist
1984 '"Ghostbusters" Ray Parker Jr.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Ivan Reitman para niños

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