Rick Moranis photo by Alan Light

‘Okay, who brought the dog?’

Rick Moranis played many characters throughout his career, but the one that put him at the forefront of our minds was the loveable geek Louis Tully from Ghostbusters. After being smitten with sultry Sigourney Weaver in the original film, he finally settled down with firecracker Janine in the 1989 sequel.

His career started on the Canadian answer to Saturday Night Live, Second City TV, where he joined such comic talent as Eugene Levy, Catherine O’Hara and the late, great John Candy. There he honed his talent with regular sketches, including the ever popular ‘The Great White North’. After staying for three seasons he left the show to become a movie star.

Film followed film throughout the 1980’s and this trend continued into the 90’s where he expanded on his repertoire. He was soon seen singing to Audrey II in the Frank Oz musical Little Shop of Horrors as well as starring in the ensemble spectacle of 1989’s Parenthood.

In 1987 he joined the cast of a new Mel Brooks space spoof. He was to play a certain sith lord-esque villain, Dark Helmet, who battles against novice, Lone Star, in a battle of ‘The Schwartz’. Spaceballs received mixed reviews when it was released but has a huge cult following and remains one of Mel Brooks’s most popular films.

In the summer of 1989, Honey I Shrunk the Kids was released, coming in just behind the big blockbuster of the summer, Batman. A surprise success, a trio of sequels followed. None matched the popularity of the original.

Moranis retired from the screen in 1997. His wife Anne lost her battle with Liver Cancer in 1991 and family life took precedence over the movies.

His last big film came in 1994’s The Flintstones, where he sported a blond hairstyle to play Fred’s best pal, Barney Rubble. Although the film had a stellar cast, including luminary Elizabeth Taylor, the reception was less than flattering with Razzies being handed out left, right and centre.

Voice work was always available for the man who used to impersonate Woody Allen and George Carlin in his earlier days on Second City. In 2005 he put his vocals to good use in the album The Agoraphobic Cowboy. It garnered a Grammy nomination the following year for Best Comedic Album.

Rumours of a third Ghostbusters film are never far away and, although he declined to reprise his role in the 2008 video game, there may still be hope that Louis Tully will be back with the rest of the gang when the film begins production. If it begins production, that is.

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