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Yes. Well done, Mr. Evers. I must say I'm impressed. You are more persistent than I would have ever imagined.
~ Ramsley revealing his true nature to Jim Evers and the fact that he murdered Elizabeth Henshaw.
Your union was unacceptable... I tried to warn you, but you wouldn't listen. (Gracey: So you killed her.) I told you it would be a mistake to run away with that girl. (But I loved her! Was love my mistake?!) YES! I tried to protect you! All these years, I've sacrificed for you.... but what would you understand of sacrifice, duty or honor? You loved her! Well, damn you! Damn you all to HELL!
~ Ramsley's infamous last words.
Ramsley is the main antagonist of Disney's 2003 comedy-fantasy film The Haunted Mansion, based on the Disney attraction of the same name.
He seems at first to be just an ordinary average butler. However, it is later revealed that Ramsley is actually capable of much evil, even murder. He is Jim Evers’ archenemy.
Ramsley is something of a servant figure to Edward Gracey, the master of the Mansion. However, he uses the relationship to manipulate Edward.
It is later revealed that Ramsley was a racist as he despised Edward's love interest Elizabeth Henshaw (who was of low-class but respected servant of mixed race and African American heritage) and feared that Edward's marriage proposal to Elizabeth would make him abandon his white heritage and lineage; despite the fact that Edward was willing to extend his legacy to multiracial people. To that end, Ramsley secretly murdered Elizabeth with a poisoned drink during a ball and made it look like she committed suicide by hiding her letter accepting Edward's proposal and replacing it with another one detailing her rejection.
Despite being satisfied that he disposed himself of Elizabeth, Ramsley did not expect that Elizabeth's death would devastate Edward into following suit and hanging himself out of grief. Upon Edward's suicide, a curse was cast over the mansion and everyone inside the mansion (including Ramsley) have all been turned into ghosts. Ramsley and the occupants soon learned that the only way to break the curse is for Elizabeth and Edward's spirits to be reunited, otherwise they would be unable to leave to the afterlife. Despite this, Edward and the rest of the occupants remained unaware about the true causes of Elizabeth's death.
The Haunted Mansion
Years later, a real-estate agent named Jim Evers and his family were lured to Gracey Manor, as Jim's wife Sarah was the spitting image of Elizabeth (since she and her family are of African-American heritage), and Ramsley believed that she could satisfy his master's desire for Elizabeth, despite Sarah being married to Jim. As the family looks around the the mansion, Jim's children Megan and Michael were lured by a spectral orb to a picture of Elizabeth (resembling Sarah) in the mansion's attic, and Jim encounters a ghost named Madame Leota, who tells him about the curse and gives him clues to finding the truth about Elizabeth's true fate.
Following Leota's directions, Jim and the kids discover a key in the mansion's cemetery that leads to a chest inside the mansion's attic. Jim opened the chest and found Elizabeth's real letter detailing her acceptance to Edward's proposal, suspecting that someone murdered her and staged it as a suicide. However, Ramsley revealed his true colors by locking both Megan and Michael in the chest and admitting to Jim that he murdered Elizabeth out of prejudice against black and multiracial people, prompting an offended Jim to declare that he will report Ramsley's crime to Edward. Anticipating this, Ramsley gets Jim thrown out from the mansion before having it magically sealed so that Jim cannot get back in.
Meanwhile, Sarah is confronted by Edward, who believes that she is Elizabeth's reincarnation, but she denies this and runs away in terror. Edward begins to doubt that Sarah is his lover reborn, but Ramsley assures him that Sarah is Elizabeth, and tells his master to prepare for his long awaited wedding. As it turns out, Ramsley is planning to use Sarah to break the curse, so he blackmails Sarah into agreeing to the marriage by threatening to harm Megan and Michael.
At the wedding, Ramsley takes on the role as the royal priest and puts iocane powder into the ceremonial wine in order to kill Sarah once she and Edward finish their vows. However, Jim uses his car to break into the mansion's conservatory (with the help from Leota) and rescue his kids before giving Elizabeth's real letter to Edward, revealing Ramsley's true role behind the curse. At first, Ramsley tries to deny this by calling Jim a lunatic, but Edward (after seeing the letter) refuses to accept this by demanding Ramsley to tell the truth.
Realizing that he is unable to cover his tracks further, Ramsley finally admits his role in ending the "unacceptable" union because of his racism. With this revelation revealed, Edward furiously berated Ramsley for his actions, but Ramsley didn't care by saying that he spent all of his life living up to the Gracey name and honor and that he will no longer bear of it due to Edward's genuine love for Elizabeth. As such, Ramsley angrily condemns everyone to be sent to Hell and summons several ghosts to attack everyone else present.
However, with Ramsley admitting to his heinous crime, a Satanic dragon composed entirely of fire comes out of the mansion's fireplace and scares away Ramsley's minions. The dragon then wraps its tongue around the evil ghost to drag him back to Hell to face punishment for his crimes. Out of spite for being foiled, Ramsley grabs onto Jim, attempting to drag him down with him, but Edward saves Jim at the last moment, leaving a screaming Ramsley to fall down alone into his damnation.
Despite Ramsley's defeat, Sarah succumbs to the poison, but is revived by the same spectral orb that is revealed to be Elizabeth's ghost, who reunites with Edward following Ramsley's defeat. The curse is finally lifted, allowing Edward, Elizabeth and their fellow ghosts to ascend into Heaven and for Jim and his family to inherit the mansion's deed, thus leaving Ramsley's plan in vain.
The fictional poison iocane powder first emerged and used in the 1973 fantasy romance novel The Princess Bride by the late William Goldman and the 1987 feature film of the same name.
Terence Stamp said of the film "I was very disappointed that so much of the work I did on The Haunted Mansion didn't arrive in the final cut".
Accordingly to Stamp's statement, some deleted scenes fleshed out more Ramsley's backstory: he used to serve another family until the family's son was threatened to be caught for a crime he committed, leading Ramsley, who was loyal to the family's father, to save the boy from going to prison and taking the blame. However, prior to his intended execution, Ramsley was saved and hired by Edward Gracey's father, leading Ramsley to become so loyal to the Graceys, explaining why he was so interested in not letting Edward commit any "mistakes".
Anthony Hopkins was offered the role of Ramsley before Terence Stamp was cast.
Ramsley is the second Disney villain to be an unfaithful butler behind their master's back, the first being Edgar Balthazar from The Aristocats.