Stepping into a role initially intended for the late John Belushi, fellow "Saturday Night Live" alum Murray cemented his comic leading-man status as Ghostbuster-in-chief Peter Venkman. The 33-year-old used the clout from "Ghostbusters" success to make "The Razor's Edge," but fans weren't ready to see him in a drama yet. Instead, he went on to make more comedies, including "Scrooged," "Ghostbusters II," and the beloved "Groundhog Day." Fans finally recognized Murray for his dramatic skills in Wes Anderson movies like "Rushmore" and Sofia Coppola's "Lost in Translation" (his only Oscar nomination to date). Though he's no longer a huge box office draw, he's achieved a Zen-master level of cool, working only when he feels like it and otherwise adding to his legend by hanging out with strangers and being the life of the party. This year, he felt like working a lot; the 63-year-old has already appeared in "Monuments Men" and "The Grand Budapest Hotel," and he's due later this year in the star-studded comedy "St. Vincent."
Aykroyd co-wrote "Ghostbusters" and gave himself the role of Ray Stantz, the wonky, childlike, marshmallow-loving member of the team. The result gave Aykroyd, then 31, the biggest role of his career. Besides reprising the role in the sequel, the Canadian comic remained in demand as a funny leading man in such films as "Spies Like Us," "Dragnet," "Coneheads," and "Yogi Bear." He also found success as a dramatic actor in "Driving Miss Daisy" (which earned him his only Oscar nomination to date) and the "My Girl" movies. In recent years, he's made a big impression in small comic roles in such films as "Tommy Boy," "Grosse Pointe Blank," "Christmas With the Kranks," and "The Campaign." Earlier this year, he voiced the Scarecrow in the animated feature "Legends of Oz: Dorothy's Return." The 61-year-old will be seen next month opposite Melissa McCarthy in "Tammy."
Weaver had already shown she could handle action ("Alien") and drama ("The Year of Living Dangerously"), but with "Ghostbusters," the then-34-year-old proved she could do comedy as well. The role of demon-haunted musician Dana Barrett, which she played in both "Ghostbusters" movies, only added to her geek cred, as did her starring roles in three "Alien" sequels, as well as the sci-fi spoof "Galaxy Quest," "WALL-E," and "Avatar." Her career hit a peak of sorts in 1988, the year she was nominated for Oscars in both "Gorillas in the Mist" and "Working Girl." Other movie highlights have included "Dave" (which reunited her with "Ghostbusters" director Ivan Reitman), "Death and the Maiden," "The Ice Storm," "Heartbreakers," "Holes," "Cedar Rapids," and the 2012 hit "The Cabin in the Woods." The 64-year-old will be seen this December in Ridley Scott's adaptation of the book of Exodus.
Hudson was 38 when he landed the role of working-stiff-turned-Ghostbuster Winston Zeddemore. The role, which he reprised in "Ghostbusters II," remains the best-known of his career, but he also had prominent roles in "The Hand That Rocks the Cradle," "The Crow," "Congo," "The Basketball Diaries," and "Miss Congeniality." He had recurring roles on TV's "Oz," "Law & Order," and "The Secret Life of the American Teenager." The 68-year-old's most recent theatrical film was the 2012 indie drama "Turning Point." Watch for him in the big-screen drama "You're Not You," due later this year.
At 30, Moranis won the role of demon-possessed accountant Louis Tully after his fellow "SCTV" alumnus John Candy dropped out of "Ghostbusters." Moranis rewrote the part to make it suit him better. It wasn't his first major film role (he had reprised his TV role as beer-loving Canadian Bob McKenzie in 1983's "Strange Brew"), but it's the one that made him a movie star. Besides appearing in the 1989 sequel, Moranis went on to star in such comedies as the musical "Little Shop of Horrors," "Spaceballs," the "Honey, I Shrunk The Kids" movies, and "The Flintstones." Having lost his wife to cancer in 1991, he became increasingly disenchanted with show business and retired from live-action movies after 1996's "Big Bully." The 61-year-old has continued to work, however, as a voice actor (most notably, in Disney's "Brother Bear" films) and releasing records of funny songs (Most recent was last year's "My Mother's Brisket & Other Love Songs"). He's also said he hasn't ruled out appearing in a third "Ghostbusters" film as Louis.
Potts earned an early career break at 31 playing harried "Ghostbusters" receptionist Janine Melnitz, a role she reprised in the sequel. It's one of three roles she's best known for. There was also Iona, the record store owner who mentors Molly Ringwald in "Pretty in Pink," and of course, Mary Jo Shively, whom she played on TV's "Designing Women" from 1986 to 1993. She also voiced the role of Bo Peep in the first two "Toy Story" films. Potts was last seen in the multiplex in the 2004 feature "Elvis Has Left the Building" and has done mostly recurring and guest TV roles since. Now 61, she's back on the big screen in the film "Chu and Blossom," currently making the rounds on the festival circuit.
Atherton played lead roles in the mid-'70s movies "The Sugarland Express" and "Day of the Locust," but the role that made him famous was that of environmental bureaucrat Walter Peck in "Ghostbusters." After that, the then-36-year-old seemed to specialize in playing sneering, arrogant authority figures, as in "Real Genius," "Die Hard" (and "Die Hard 2") and "Bio-Dome." He also had small roles in "The Pelican Brief," "Hoodlum," and "The Last Samurai." Now 66, he last appeared on the big screen in the 2014 thriller "Jinn," which opened in limited release in April.
Reitman had directed two Bill Murray films already ("Meatballs" and "Stripes") when, at 37, he directed and produced "Ghostbusters" as well. (Plus, he did the voice of ghostly glutton Slimer.) He became known for big-budget comedies that play like action blockbusters. In addition to "Ghostbusters II," he went on to direct such comedies as "Twins," "Kindergarten Cop," "Dave," "Junior," "Six Days Seven Nights," "Evolution," "My Super Ex-Girlfriend," and "No Strings Attached." He also produced son Jason's "Up in the Air," earning a Best Picture Oscar nomination in the process. Now 67, he most recently directed this spring's Kevin Costner dramedy "Draft Day."
Ramis worked with Bill Murray many times, starting with "Meatballs" (which Ramis wrote), "Caddyshack" (which he co-wrote and directed), and "Stripes" (which he co-wrote and co-starred in). In fact, he was such a comedy vet that, by the time he co-wrote "Ghostbusters" with Dan Aykroyd and co-starred in it with Aykroyd and Murray, he was already 39. He reprised the role of Egon Spengler, the geekiest Ghostbuster, in the 1989 sequel (which he also co-wrote with Aykroyd), but he soon became better known as a director, thanks to his work co-scripting and shooting the landmark "Groundhog Day" (1993). He also directed "Multiplicity," the "Analyze This" movies (which he also co-wrote), and "Year One" (his final film, from 2009). He also appeared in memorable cameos in "Baby Boom," "As Good as It Gets," and "Knocked Up." He had long hoped to make a third "Ghostbusters" movie, one that would pass the torch to a new generation of specter-hunters, but he couldn't get Murray on board, as the two had had a falling out on the set of "Groundhog Day" and didn't speak to each other for nearly two decades. Reportedly, they reconciled shortly before Ramis died of autoimmune inflammatory vasculitis, a disease he'd suffered from on and off for years, in February 2014. Ramis was 69.