Director/producer Ivan Reitman created many of American cinema's most successful and best loved feature film comedies. Originally from Czechoslovakia, Reitman and his family fled to Canada when he was four years old. He attended McMaster University, where he produced and directed several television shorts.
After making a couple of television shows including Greed, Reitman turned to the stage and produced several productions including Spellbound, the Broadway hit The Magic Show, the off-Broadway hit The National Lampoon Show, and the Tony-nominated Merlin.
At the age of 23, he helped produce his first feature, The Columbus of Sex. Due to the explicit content, he and Dan Goldberg were arrested for producing the film. During the trial, the men who went on to form Northern Lights Entertainment were offered $175,000 by MGM to make a feature to be called Foxy Ladies. They were the first Canadians convicted under Canada's decency laws, despite widespread critical acclaim and support from the arts community. They were fined $300.00 and put on a year's probation.
Following that experience he began directing such Canadian films as Foxy Lady, Cannibal Girls and the classic camp film, Meatballs. Following the success of Meatballs, Reitman followed the film's star, Bill Murray, back to the States to create two more classic blockbusters, Stripes and Ghostbusters.
By 1984 he was honored as Director of the Year by the National Association of Theatre Owners, and a year later he received a Special Achievement Award from the Canadian Genie Awards. In 1994 he was given a "Billion Dollar Director" salute by Variety magazine (he was the third director in history to receive this honor).
For the next 10 years, Reitman had a stream of successful films that ranged from extreme blockbusters to just plain successful films. He also worked with some of the top names in Hollywood, such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Klein, Sigourney Weaver, Robin Williams, Billy Crystal, Danny DeVito and Harrison Ford. In 2010, he received Oscar and BAFTA award nominations for producing Up in the Air, directed by his son, Jason Reitman and starring George Clooney.
Through the years he has also produced over 35 films including all his own films and others like Killing Me Softly, Hotel for Dogs, Trailer Park Boys: The Movie and Atom Egoyan's Chloe.
A founder of the McMaster Film Board at McMaster University, Reitman was close to his family and had his two children, Jason and Catherine, play roles in a number of his films. In 2007, he received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 7020 Hollywood Boulevard.
Reitman died at the age of 75 in his sleep on February 12, 2022 at his home in Montecito, California.