EXCLUSIVE: How the Ghostbusters best friends became deadly enemies thanks to Groundhog Day: Harold Ramis’s daughter reveals his bitter feud with Bill Murray and how she loved to smoke weed with her dad

  • Details of Ramis and Murray’s rift is revealed in a new book written by Violet Ramis Stiel, Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis
  • The two had a falling out on the set of 1993 film Groundhog Day, which marked the beginning of 21-year long feud
  • Stiel reveals that following their altercation, Murray ‘completely shut my dad out’ and the two did not speak until shortly before Ramis’s death in 2014
  • She explains the star was not surprised by Murray’s rejection: ‘Bill would give you his kidney if you needed it, but he wouldn’t necessarily return your phone calls’
  • Murray finally decided to bury the hatchet by showing up ‘unannounced, at 7am with a police escort and a dozen doughnuts’ 
  • However, Stiel reveals her relationship with Murray, her godfather, has not been repaired, and that the actor has not been responsive to her messages 

A new book is to lift the lid on the infamous years-long feud between comedy legend Harold Ramis and actor Bill Murray, DailyMail.com can reveal.

Details of their acrimonious rift, as well as Ramis’s rampant drug use, are disclosed in a touching new work, Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis, by Violet Ramis Stiel. 

The two funnymen bitterly fell out on the set of Ramis’s 1993 film Groundhog Day – in which Murray starred as main character Phil – and resulted in the pair not speaking to each other for two decades until right before Ramis’s death.

Up until now, not much had been known about their dispute and co-star Andie McDowell had previously stated in an interview that even she was unaware of the cause of their fight.   

It had been rumored that Murray had become increasingly difficult to work with, often showing up late to set and frequently throwing ‘tantrums.’ 

Ramis’s eldest daughter reveals that her father and Murray – her godfather – had repeated altercations on set and at one point, their arguments turned physical.

Father-daughter:  Harold Ramis’s daughter Violet Ramis Stiel lifts the lid on the comedy legend’s rampant drug use and the decades-long feud between he and Bill Murray 

Ramis and Murray collaborated on multiple films, most notably, the Ghostbusters films, before their falling out. Above they are pictured in 1981 film Stripes 

The beginning of the end: Ramis and Murray on set of Groundhog Day – the film which ruined their friendship

‘Bill was going through a difficult time in his personal life, and he and my dad were not seeing eye to eye on the tone of the film,’ she writes. 

‘They had a few arguments on set, including one in which my dad uncharacteristically lost his temper and grabbed Bill by the collar, and shoved him up against a wall. Eventually, Bill just completely shut my dad out…for the next twenty-plus years.’  

It is unclear what had been going on in Murray’s personal life, however the pair’s falling out led the public to speculate that perhaps he had resented Ramis for being responsible for his success. 

Ramis at this point, had seen huge success in writing films, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Caddyshack, Meatball, and Stripes – most of which he worked with alongside Murray.

‘Some people hypothesized that Bill may have been resentful of my dad’s influence on his career or wondered if my dad had offended or betrayed Bill in some way, but truly, the root of his decision remains a mystery to this day,’ Stiel writes. 

‘My dad did his best to be diplomatic about the whole thing and tried not to take it personally but it bothered him.’

Stiel writes that her father had felt ‘heartbroken, confused’ but was not surprised by the rebuff explaining ‘Bill would give you his kidney if you needed it, but he wouldn’t necessarily return your phone calls.’ 

In an interview with AV Club in 2009, just a few years before he fell ill, Ramis said he had had ‘dreams’ about being friends with Murray again. 

Who you gonna call? Ramis helped write and starred in the blockbuster film alongside Murray, Ivan Reitman, and Dan Aykroyd

Ramis at this point, had seen huge success in writing films, National Lampoon’s Animal House, Caddyshack, Meatball, and Stripes – most of which he worked on alongside Murray

Stiel writes that her father had felt ‘heartbroken’ and ‘confused’ but was not surprised by Murray’s rejection 

‘I could help him be the best funny Bill Murray he could be, and I think he appreciated that then. And I don’t know where that went, but it’s there on film. So whatever happens between us in the future, at least we have those expressions,’ Ramis told the website. 

But Stiel tells how her father had a slightly more frustrated tone about the situation behind closed doors.  

‘Privately, he was only slightly less generous about the estrangement. “I’ve reached out. He won’t respond. What can I do? Make myself crazy? Not worth it,” he told me. 

‘I was more bothered on his behalf. “Curse him out! Send him a box of s**t! Something! He’s a jerk, Daddy. What could you possibly have done to deserve 15 years of the silent treatment? It’s f***ing disrespectful and cruel.’ 

Ramis responded saying he had watched Murray ‘turn on people for virtually no reason.’

The 20-year feud finally came to an end after Murray extended an olive branch to an ailing Ramis.

Stiel said Rami and Murray repeatedly bickered on the set of Groundhog Day (pictured) and revealed their arguments at one point turned physical  

In 2010, the comedy star was suffering from vasculitis, an autoimmune disease that left him unable to walk and hardly able to speak.     

‘In classic Bill fashion, he showed up at the house unannounced, at 7am with a police escort and a dozen doughnuts. 

‘My dad wasn’t able to talk much by that point so they didn’t get into the nitty-gritty of what happened or go back and rehash any of the old stuff, but they spent a couple hours together, laughed a little, and made their peace,’ she writes. 

Ramis died on February 24, 2014, aged 69. Murray would later publicly pay a touching tribute to his old friend at the Academy Awards that year.

And while the two ultimately made peace, Stiel revealed that her relationship with her godfather remains strained.

‘I’ve reached out to Bill a few times since my dad’s death but, apart from one brief text message, haven’t gotten a response. 

‘In my fantasy, he tells me he’s sorry for shutting my dad and me out of his life and offers to “be there” for me in whatever way I need.’ 

Stiel’s mother, Anne Plotkin – Ramis’s first wife –  and her father did not put much thought into picking a godparent for their first child, she admits.   

Stiel writes about her close relationship with her father stating she had an unconventional upbringing and even got high with her dad

Ramis’s falling out with Murray meant Stiel grew up with an absent godfather. She reveals her parents had second thoughts about giving Murray such a role in their daughter’s life 

‘My mom says they chose Bill because he was tall and funny, but then had second thoughts after the fact. “Bill liked to use you as a prop,” my mom explained. “He would carry you around like a sack of potatoes and make everyone laugh, but then he wouldn’t pay attention to you for the rest of the day.” 

Her mother added: ‘We didn’t imagine it would be a very important role…maybe we should have given it a little more thought.’ 

Ramis echoed those same thoughts. 

‘My dad once said of Bill, “It’s his job to defy all your expectations,” so I guess the bar was set pretty low,’ Stiel writes.   

Ramis’s impact on the comedy world dates back to his work on The National Lampoon Radio Hour.

He often collaborated with other comedy greats such as John Bellushi, Joe Flaherty, Douglas Kenney, and Murray. 

Stiel writes about her unconventional upbringing having been raised by her eccentric mother and liberal, pot-smoking father.  

Peace at last: Murray paid tribute to his late friend at the 2014 Oscars

Her parents also had an unorthodox marriage, she reveals, stating that her mother was okay with her husband sleeping with other women ‘as long as he came home to her.’  

‘From his perspective, he wanted her to be happy and didn’t take it personally if she was turned on (intellectually, creatively, or sexually) by other men. 

‘I think it also made him feel less guilty about his own behavior if she was doing it too. In any event, he slept with a lot of women outside their marriage and she had a couple of long-term affairs.’ 

Ramis and Plotkin divorced in 1984. The comic went on to marry Erica Mann, with whom he had two sons. 

Stiel details Ramis’s recreational drug use, particularly marijuana and cocaine, and admits she even smoked weed with her dad.

Violet Ramis Stiel talks about her unconventional upbringing as a daughter of the famous Ghostbuster 

‘At night I often faked a stomachache so I could get out of bed and sit with him on the couch while he got high and watched movie.’

‘Many years later, my dad and I finally did get stoned together. I thought it would be weird, but it was actually not at all. We smoked, we laughed, we talked Big Ideas, we snacked, we smoked some more. It was great. 

‘He and Seth Rogen had gotten high together after Knocked Up and Seth said, in his taped messaged for my dad’s memorial, that it was like a dream come true (and that my dad still owed him money for the weed).’    

Ramis quit drugs after he got together with Mann, a move he made ‘as part of his new life,’ Stiel writes.  

‘She didn’t do drugs and didn’t think they were doing him any good. The way he told it, they were at a party together, people started cutting up lines and Erica said, “I’m going to do some.”

“Why?” he asked. “You don’t like it and it’s not good for you.”   

Mann responded saying ‘well, it’s not good for you either, and if you’re doing it, then so am I.’ 

‘Okay, I won’t either then,’ Ramis said.  ‘[He] never did hard drugs for the rest of his life. That was that.’  

Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life with My Dad, Harold Ramis, will be released on June 5, 2018 and is available for pre-order on Amazon.com  


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