×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

George A. Romero, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Director, Dies at 77

George A. Romero, who launched the zombie film genre with his 1968 “Night of the Living Dead,” died on Sunday, Variety has confirmed. He was 77.

The director died in his sleep following a battle with lung cancer, according to a statement from his manager Chris Roe.

“Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero passed away on Sunday July 16, listening to the score of ‘The Quiet Man,’ one of his all-time favorite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, and daughter, Tina Romero at his side,” the statement said. “He died peacefully in his sleep, following a brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer, and leaves behind a loving family, many friends, and a filmmaking legacy that has endured, and will continue to endure, the test of time.”

Made in Pittsburgh on a budget of $114,000, “Night of the Living Dead” made $30 million and became a cult classic. Romero’s friends and associates in his Image Ten production company pooled their funds to make the film. Influenced by Richard Matheson’s novel “I Am Legend,” the black and white film about a group of people trapped in a Pennsylvania farmhouse who fall prey to a horde of the undead was said to be a critique of capitalism during the counter-culture era.

After “Night of the Living Dead,” he directed films including “There’s Always Vanilla,” “Season of the Witch,” and “The Crazies,” although none had the impact of his first film. His 1977 vampire arthouse pic “Martin” was somewhat more well-received.

He went back to zombies with “Dawn of the Dead,” which made more than $55 million on a half a million dollar budget, then made his third Dead movie with “Day of the Dead” in 1985.

His non-zombie films of that period gained more attention, including “Knightridgers” about jousters who re-enact tournaments on motorcycles and the anthology “Creepshow” written by Stephen King.

Among his other films from the 1980s and 1990s were “Monkey Shines,” Edgar Allen Poe adaptation “Two Evil Eyes,” in collaboration with Dario Argento, “The Dark Half’ and “Bruiser.”

He exec produced and updated his own screenplay for Tom Savini’s 1990 remake of “Night of the Living Dead.” He made a cameo appearance in “The Silence of the Lambs.” Romero was originally set to direct “Resident Evil,” but left the project due to creative differences.

His fourth Dead movie “Land of the Dead” was made in Toronto in 2005, starring Simon Baker, Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento and John Leguizamo.

He followed that with “Diary of the Dead” in 2008 and “Survival of the Dead” in 2010. He also worked on video games and wrote comic books.

Born in the Bronx, Romero’s father was Cuban and his mother Lithuanian. He graduated the Carnegie Institute of University in Pittsburgh, then began shooting shorts and commercials, including a segment of “Mr. Rogers Neighborhood.”

He is survived by his wife Suzanne, a daughter, and two sons.

More Film

  • oscar nominee predictions 2019

    'Roma,' 'A Star Is Born' Poised to Lead Oscar Nominations

    Things got ugly this awards season, enough to give you pause about what might still lie ahead once Oscar nominations are announced next week. “Fasten your seatbelts, it’s going to be a bumpy ride,” etc. But as the phase one dust finally begins to settle, what does the landscape look like? On the heels of [...]

  • Oscars Predictions 2018 Illustration

    Academy Awards: Final Oscar Predictions in All Categories

    Nominations for the 91st Academy Awards will be announced on Tuesday, Jan. 22. Below are In Contention’s final predictions in all 24 categories. Bradley Cooper’s “A Star Is Born” and Alfonso Cuarón’s “Roma” lead the way with 10 expected nominations apiece, while we forecast eight for Yorgos Lanthimos’ “The Favourite” and seven each for Damien [...]

  • Zach Barack Spider-Man

    Transgender Actor Zach Barack Joins Sony's 'Spider-Man: Far From Home'

    Newcomer and transgender actor Zach Barack appears in a ground-breaking supporting role in Sony/Marvel’s “Spider-Man: Far From Home,” sources confirm to Variety. Barack can be seen in the new trailer, which was released on Tuesday. Tom Holland is returning to play Peter Parker, with Zendaya and Marisa Tomei also coming back for the sequel. Jake [...]

  • A Quiet Place Roma Jack Ryan

    'A Quiet Place,' 'Roma,' 'Jack Ryan' Among Golden Reel Nominees for Sound Editing

    The Motion Picture Sound Editors (MPSE) announced nominations for its 66th annual Golden Reel Awards Friday. On the film side, “First Man,” Mission: Impossible – Fallout,” “A Quiet Place” and “Roma” led the way with three nominations each. Musical dramas “Bohemian Rhapsody” and “A Star Is Born” received two, as did “The Favourite.” Among broadcast [...]

  • Nick Redman

    Nick Redman, Documentary Filmmaker and Soundtrack Producer, Dies at 63

    Nick Redman, Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker, award-winning soundtrack producer and co-founder of the Twilight Time video label, died Thursday afternoon, Jan. 17, at a Santa Monica Hospital, after a two-year battle with cancer. He was 63. He was nominated for an Academy Award as producer of the 1996 documentary “The Wild Bunch: An Album in Montage,” [...]

  • Nicky Jam Bad Boys

    Reggaeton Star Nicky Jam Joins 'Bad Boys' Sequel (EXCLUSIVE)

    Reggaeton sensation Nicky Jam is set to join the cast of Will Smith and Martin Lawrence’s upcoming “Bad Boys” sequel, “Bad Boys for Life.” Jam, who will play one of the villains in the Sony pic, joins series newcomers Vanessa Hudgens, Alexander Ludwig, Charles Melton, Jacob Scipio, DJ Khaled, and Paola Nuñez. Joe Pantoliano will return [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content