Birthday of the Zombie Master!
Born in the Bronx, New York, on 4 February, 1940, George A. Romero began his film-making career with his 8mm at the age of 14. He studied at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s Carnegie Mellon University and filmed a tonsillectomy segment for “Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood” before founding “Image Ten Productions” with nine of his friends. His most famous film, the black-and-white “Night of the Living Dead” ripped onto the American social conscience in 1968, changing the definition of zombie forever. (Hitherto, Hollywood presented zombies as people under the thrall of a powerful sorcerer. Romero’s zombies hungered for brains.)
This writer, director, editor, cinematographer, and actor has been involved in over twenty film projects, including “Dead” sequels, “Martin,” and “Knight Rider.” He collaborated with Stephen King on 1982’s “Creepshow,” 1988’s “Monkey Shines,” and “1993’s “The Dark Half,” and his flair for the macabre proved an invaluable asset on the set of television’s “Tales from the Darkside” from the mid 1980’s. He’s even acted. For example, he served as one of Hannibal Lecter’s jailers in “The Silence of the Lambs.” He authored and co-authored several books, spearheaded DC Comic’s “Toe Tags” and Marvel’s “Empire of the Dead,” and stars as himself in video games.
His works often contain a frequent metaphoric commentary including consumerism and the collapse of the family unit. This sneaky social conscience and skill in film making is acknowledged in his influence of other filmmakers such as Tarantino and his friend fx master Tom Savini. He was awarded the “Mastermind” award by Spike TV in 2009.
Mr. Romero died in July, 2017 after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer.” He passed while resting near his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero and listening to the score of one of his favorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man” according to a family statement made to “The Times.” He lived 77 years.