Four years after Harold Ramis’ passing, his daughter Violet Ramis Stiel is opening up about how she discovered that her dad fathered a child with “Clueless” director Amy Heckerling in 1985, while still married to her mother.
In her new book, “Ghostbuster’s Daughter: Life With My Dad, Harold Ramis,” Stiel, now in her 40s, writes about visiting Heckerling in the hospital right after she gave birth.
“I was only eight, but I could tell that something weird was in the air,” she wrote (via Vulture). “Amy was nice enough but did not seem particularly happy to see us, and my dad was definitely in a hurry to get out of there.”
A year later, Stiel read a page from her future stepmom Erica Mann’s diary confirming that Heckerling’s child was Ramis’ daughter.
Stiel decided to confront her mother, Anne Plotkin, who revealed the truth that her father had an affair with Heckerling, who was also married at the time.
“I tried as best I could to put the whole thing out of my mind. For all my precociousness, I was confused by the whole situation,” she wrote. “How could my dad have another baby but not be with it? Did that mean he wasn’t really its dad? Was the baby part of our family? Why didn’t he tell me it was his baby when we were at the hospital? Why did my mom seem so sad? I could have asked these questions but I didn’t. I preferred being in the dark, scared of whatever the answers might reveal. I figured as long as everyone else was keeping the secret, I would too.”
It wasn’t until 1999 when Ramis took Stiel on a postgrad trip to France that he told her about her half-sister. Stiel admitted to Ramis that she’d known about it for a long time, and even remembered their trip to the hospital.
Ramis explained that Heckerling and her husband, “Police Academy” writer Neal Israel, decided to raise the baby as their own. According to Ramis, Israel made Heckerling promise she would never tell their daughter who her real dad was.
However, in 2004, Mollie Heckerling found out the truth and wanted to meet her biological father. Ramis, Mann and Stiel were all there for their first meeting.
“About five years after our initial meeting, Mollie came over to my apartment,” Stiel wrote. “We got stoned, clicked (hallelujah!), and started to have a real relationship of our own. She was hilarious and creative and ballsy and we were amazed at all of the overlap in our personalities and upbringings despite the differences. Now, I may be partial to oddly neurotic Jewish girls who say ‘f–k’ a lot and aren’t afraid of a good Holocaust joke, but she was like a dream come true. Actually, I had never met anyone like her, and I was kind of in love. She came over every Tuesday night for the next year and we became really close.”
Earlier this year, Mollie, now in her 30s, opened up to the Chicago Tribune about Ramis — who passed away in 2014 from vasculitis — and Stiel’s book.
“I loved him very dearly and I know he loved me,” she said. “The one thing I regret is not being more present in his life or fighting to be more present, especially when he was sick, because you want to be with the person as much as you can and garner as much as you can from them and then at the same time you feel as though you’re kind of a reminder to them of something that they did that they’re not proud of, so it was sort of like bittersweet.”
She added of Stiel’s book, “The book is really fantastic. I think it took a lot of guts on Violet’s part to tell her story. Writing a book is hard, especially one as personal as this. She’s such a wonderful person and I’m honored to be a part of her life and her story.”
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