Raymond Stantz, PhD is a fictional character from the Ghostbusters franchise. He appears in the films Ghostbusters (1984), Ghostbusters II (1989), Casper (1995, as a cameo) and Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021), the animated television series The Real Ghostbusters and Extreme Ghostbusters, and the video games Beeline's Ghostbusters and Ghostbusters: The Video Game. He was portrayed by Dan Aykroyd in all four live action films, and voiced by Frank Welker in the animated series. He is a member of the Ghostbusters and one of the three Columbia University professors of parapsychology, along with Dr. Peter Venkman and Dr. Egon Spengler.
Ray is an expert on paranormal history and metallurgy. He is characterised by his almost childlike enthusiasm towards his work, and his forthright acceptance of paranormal activity. As a result, Peter once during the movie referred to him as "the heart of the Ghostbusters". Ray has extensive knowledge of the Bible (to the point of even quoting a specific book and chapter – "I remember Revelation 7:12"—about the end of the world, though the passage he quotes is actually Revelation 6:12), but is an agnostic, commenting when asked if he believes in God, "Never met Him". As revealed in Ghostbusters: The Video Game, Ray attended a seminary at some stage in his life. He is known for his wordy and overly technical explanations of scientific and paranormal phenomena. Ray, along with Egon, is responsible for pioneering the Ghostbusters' theories and designing and building the equipment used for catching and containing ghosts.
Before being kicked out of the University, Ray was devoting a lot of his workday to interviewing people who had some sort of encounter with the paranormal. After the entanglement with the library ghost, Ray was more motivated to continue on with that type of work. When the guys were let go by Dean Yager, he was initially crushed, primarily concerned with his academic integrity, financial stability, etc. Ray had briefly worked in the private sector beforehand, and knew it was not conducive to his line of work, as they expected results.
After talking with Peter Venkman and Egon Spengler, they all decided to try hunting ghosts full-time. Ray even mortgaged the house he was born in to provide the starting capital to get the company started and lease the firehouse. In addition, he rummaged through used car lots to find a suitable vehicle and repair it to make the Ecto-1.
Dr. Stantz also has the distinction of being the first Ghostbuster to meet Slimer. Unlike his other continuity, however, Ray dropped his cigarette in fear. He then went proton blasting, after his call for assistance was unheard by Venkman.
He is later partnered with new hired Winston Zeddemore, and they become good friends.
Ray accidentally chose the form of Gozer's Destructor Form because of his childhood memories at Camp Waconda. Despite his initial attempt at negotiations, he wound up fighting Gozer with his Proton Pack. After reversing the particle flow to force Gozer back into his realm, Ray was concerned about the other guys' welfare after the explosion, and then celebrated with them all afterward. Although this was short-lived by the, "ungrateful, yuppie larvae!" representing the city, county and state of New York.
Ghostbusters II (1989)
In the second film, following the decline of the Ghostbusters' business, he and Winston were entertainers for parties. When he was not doing that, he was running his bookstore, Ray's Occult Books, which is popular to paranormal devotees. It is implied by Venkman that two years prior, the team had used their proton packs for a secret adventure. When Dana Barrett comes to Egon and later Ray, it becomes clear that something supernatural was once again happening underneath New York City.
During the investigation on Vigo's painting, while Venkman taunts it, Ray notices Vigo's eyes glowed and caught under his spell, turning Ray into Vigo's sleeper agent by subtly controlling Ray's subconscious. Ray and Egon experiment with the psychomagnotheric slime they find and eventually discover a way to not only positively charge the slime, but utilize it to animate objects, including the Statue of Liberty in their final assault on Vigo the Carpathian. Ray also briefly becomes the host for Vigo himself, but a liberal dousing of the positively charged mood slime quickly cures him of that.
Dan Aykroyd has a cameo appearance as Stantz in Casper. When Catherine "Carrigan" Crittenden and Paul "Dibs" Plutzker are attempting to evict the Ghostly Trio from the McFadden Manor, before contacting Dr. James Harvey, they contact Ray Stantz of the Ghostbusters. After he fails to capture the Ghostly Trio, he runs out of the manor in fear, and says to Carrigan and Dibs: "Who you gonna call? Someone else."
Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021)
Aykroyd confirmed that he will reprise his role as Stantz in Ghostbusters: Afterlife (2021).
The Real Ghostbusters
Ray has an extended family (which has different nationalities ranging from Swiss to Scottish to Russian), including his Aunt Lois (who appears in the episode, "The Spirit of Aunt Lois"), and Uncle Andrew MacMillan of Dunkeld, Scotland (who is mentioned as being deceased in "Bustman's Holiday").
Ray was born in the Bronx in 1959, according to the episodes Citizen Ghost, and "It's About Time", then later moved to Morrisville, which appears in Look Homeward Ray. The latter episode also reveals that Ray's childhood crush was a brunette named Elaine.
During the show's run he was the closest member of the team to being a pilot, having won a free flying lesson in 1976, as mentioned in You Can't Take It With You.
Ray's surname was misspelled in the series as "Stanz", in much the same way as Winston Zeddemore's surname was misspelled "Zeddmore".
Ray is the only Ghostbuster to wear the original beige jumpsuit uniform in both the animated series and the films, while the other Ghostbusters wore color coded jumpsuits in the animated series – brown for Venkman, light blue for Winston and gray-blue for Egon (presumably to help differentiate them better).
Ray appears only in the two-part series finale of Extreme Ghostbusters. After the closing down of the Ghostbusters Ray got a job at a major university. After a "minor mishap," followed by a large explosion, he has a job at Perpetual Motors, a used car company.
Ghostbusters: The Video Game
A likeness of Aykroyd, circa 1991 (the year in which the game takes place) appears in the Ghostbusters: The Video Game, that was released on June 16, 2009. Aykroyd also reprised his role for the game by voicing him. In the game, Stantz is eager to expand his knowledge in regards to researching the paranormal. More than once he asks the Rookie to collect samples and take readings for later research. Ray is also the most vocally supportive of the Rookie.
It is mentioned that the mortgage for the Ghostbusters Headquarters is in his name. His selection for the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man's form of Gozer's "Destructor Form" was mentioned in a quote "It wasn't me this time, I swear it!" when the Ghostbusters see that the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man is once again terrorizing New York. Ray is the most visibly shaken to see the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man again.
Ray is shown to possess skill in operating nautical vessels (i.e.: migrant sponge observation, mentioned earlier) as he's the primary navigator on Marine Ecto-8.
One patron of Ray's occult bookstore, is unhappy of him closed his store for ghostbustings, and she left him a message on the Ghostbusters' answering machine in hope to still able to order items from him.
Stantz appears in Beeline's Ghostbusters game for iOS. The game was released on January 24, 2013.
Stantz appears in Lego Dimensions, with archival audio of Dan Aykroyd being used to represent his character.