You’re a Good Man, Harold Ramis

The director discusses his pretty damn cool background:

From what I’ve read, you had an interesting job after you graduated from Washington University, in St. Louis, in 1966.

I worked in a mental institution in St. Louis, which prepared me well for when I went out to Hollywood to work with actors. People laugh when I say that, but it was actually very good training. And not just with actors; it was good training for just living in the world. It’s knowing how to deal with people who might be reacting in a way that’s connected to anxiety or grief or fear or rage. As a director, you’re dealing with that constantly with actors. But if I were a businessman, I’d probably be applying those same principles to that line of work.

How long did you work at the mental institution?

I worked in the psych ward for about seven months, and then I moved back to Chicago and I began to substitute-teach at a public elementary school—kindergarten through sixth grade. While I was teaching, I did some freelance writing for the Chicago Daily News, and I took a few of these pieces to show to Playboy. They happened to be looking to fill an entry-level editorial staff job, which was joke editor, and they hired me.

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