George Romero, director, 77
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Michael OConnor
2017-07-16 22:01:32 UTC
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George A. Romero, 'Night of the Living Dead' creator, dies at 77

Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero, father of the modern movie zombie and creator of the groundbreaking “Night of the Living Dead” franchise, has died at 77, his family said.

Romero died Sunday in his sleep following a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. Romero died while listening to the score of one his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero, at his side, the family said.

Romero jump-started the zombie genre as the co-writer (with John A. Russo) and director of the 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead,” which went to show future generations of filmmakers such as Tobe Hooper and John Carpenter that generating big scares didn’t require big budgets. “Living Dead” spawned an entire school of zombie knockoffs, and Romero’s sequels included 1978’s “Dawn of the Dead,” 1985’s “Day of the Dead,” 2005’s “Land of the Dead,” 2007’s “Diary of the Dead” and 2009’s “George A. Romero's Survival of the Dead.”

The original film, since colorized, has become a Halloween TV staple. It also has earned socio-political points for the casting of a black actor in the lead role.

Romero wrote or directed projects outside of the “Living Dead” franchise too, including 1973’s “The Crazies,” 1981’s “Knightriders” and episodes of the 1970s TV documentary “The Winners.” His last credit as a writer was for his characters’ appearance in 2017’s “Day of the Dead” from director Hèctor Hernández Vicens.

George Andrew Romero was born in the Bronx in New York City on Feb. 4, 1940. He attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, and graduated in 196 from the university’s College of Fine Arts.

In recent years, as the zombie genre had a resurgence, Romero wasn’t always a fan. He told a British newspaper in 2013 that he’d been asked to do some episodes of 'The Walking Dead,' but had no interest.

"Basically it’s just a soap opera with a zombie occasionally,” he told the Big Issue. “I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism, and I find that missing in what's happening now."

Romero took an intellectual view to his depiction of zombies, an approach he found lacking in some of the work that came after him.

"I grew up on these slow-moving-but-you-can't-stop-them [creatures], where you've got to find the Achilles' heel, or in this case, the Achilles' brain," Romero told The Times in 2005, referring to the organ whose destruction waylays a zombie. "In [the remake] they're just dervishes, you don't recognize any of them, there's nothing to characterize them.... [But] I like to give even incidental zombies a bit of identification. I just think it's a nice reminder that they're us. They walked out of one life and into this."

His critical eye could be trained on subjects beyond the undead. In 1988, he remarked on the street scene on Hollywood Boulevard to a Times reporter, making a prediction that proved true.

"I know they're trying to clean up Hollywood Boulevard," he said eyeing the odd, colorful crowd at rush hour. "But you'll always be able to get a tattoo here. It'll just cost more."

At the time, he was promoting the horror film “Monkey Shines.”

"I've been criticized the most for not writing good-guy/bad-guy characters," he explained. "But my people aren't clear-cut because real people aren't clear-cut. They're usually very gray, very ambiguous.

"That's what makes this story so disturbing, because you don't know where you stand with everyone. There's a wonderful line in the original novel--'the devil is instinct.' And I think that's what I responded to most--the theme of the evil within, the Jekyll-and-Hyde quality of the character."

Check back for updates to this article throughout the day.
RH Draney
2017-07-16 22:04:23 UTC
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Post by Michael OConnor
George A. Romero, 'Night of the Living Dead' creator, dies at 77
Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero, father of the modern movie zombie and creator of the groundbreaking “Night of the Living Dead” franchise, has died at 77, his family said.
But he'll be *ba-a-ack*!...r
Michael OConnor
2017-07-17 04:32:37 UTC
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At one point in the late 80's, George Romero was slated to direct a big-screen adaptation of the Stephen King epic "The Stand". The film never got off the ground, even though they had a script. Here is a story about the attempts to get the Romero movie made, along with a link to the screenplay:


I would love to see somebody do this as a feature film, but I think, like the "Lord of the Rings", it would need to be split into three films to tell the entire story. There is no way to tell the story of "The Stand" in three hours.
2017-07-17 23:04:31 UTC
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From "The Illustrated Who's Who of the Cinema" by Ann Lloyd, ‎Graham Fuller & ‎Arnold Desser, page 380:

"As they say in all the corniest horror movies. George Romero must have been a strange child. After all, at the age of 14 he was arrested for throwing a burning dummy off a roof whilst filming his first amateur movie, 'The Man from the Meteor.' The unhealthy influence of science-fiction continued to pervade his otherwise normal education, at Suffield College, Connecticut, and the Carnegie-Mellon Institute in Pittsburgh, and resulted in a Future Scientists of America Award for another 8mm effort Earlhbottom. With Night of the Living Dead his unusual preoccupations came to the fore, and branded him a master of horror with a fascination for depicting the bloody demise of flesh-eating zombies. Hungry Wives, about the stultifying effects of American suburbia, and Knightriders, in which modem knights joust on motorbikes, had some interesting ideas, but generally Romero is happiest wasting the undead; has anyone really seen him out in the daylight?"

Btw, while I didn't see "Knightriders," I did know Brother Blue, the Harvard man who was in that movie (he played Merlin). You can see him here: