Hollywood Obituaries

Discussion in 'Music, TV, Movies & other Media' started by waltky, Oct 24, 2015.

  1. MMC

    MMC Well-Known Member

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    63yrs of age. Damn shame. I think she also sported every hair color there is. She was a blonde, red head, and a brunette.


    Actress Glenne Headly Has Died......

    [​IMG]


    Actress Glenne Headly died Thursday night at the age of 63.

    Perhaps most famous for starring alongside Warren Beatty in 1990’s “Dick Tracy,” Headly was also nominated for an Emmy for her role in the 1989 miniseries “Lonesome Dove,” along with the 1996 Showtime film adaptation of “Bastard Out of Carolina.”

    Additional credits include “Dirty Rotten Scoundrels,” “Mr. Holland’s Opus,” and the HBO miniseries “The Night Of.”

    Before her death, Headly was working on the Seth Rogen-Evan Goldberg produced Hulu comedy series, “Future Man.” The series executives were notified of her passing last night.

    At this time, the cause of death is still being determined......snip~

    R.I.P. Glenne Headly. [​IMG]
     
  2. Space_Time

    Space_Time Well-Known Member

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    http://www.hollywoodreporter.com/news/adam-west-dead-batman-star-832264


    Adam West, Straight-Faced Star of TV's 'Batman,' Dies at 88
    8:16 AM PDT 6/10/2017 by Mike Barnes
    The actor struggled to find work after the campy superhero series was canceled, but he rebounded with voiceover gigs, including one as the mayor of Quahog on 'Family Guy.'
    Adam West, the ardent actor who managed to keep his tongue in cheek while wearing the iconic cowl of the Caped Crusader on the classic 1960s series Batman, has died. He was 88.

    West, who was at the pinnacle of pop culture after Batman debuted in January 1966, only to see his career fall victim to typecasting after the ABC show flamed out, died Friday night in Los Angeles after a short battle with leukemia, a family spokesperson said.

    West died peacefully surrounded by his family and is survived by his wife Marcelle, six children, five grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

    “Our dad always saw himself as The Bright Knight and aspired to make a positive impact on his fans' lives. He was and always will be our hero,” his family said in a statement.

    After struggling for years without a steady job, the good-natured actor reached a new level of fame when he accepted an offer to voice the mayor of Quahog — named Adam West; how’s that for a coincidence! — on Seth MacFarlane’s long-running Fox animated hit Family Guy.

    On the big screen, West played a wealthy Main Line husband who meets an early end in Paul Newman’s The Young Philadelphians (1959), was one of the first two humans on the Red Planet in Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964) and contributed his velvety voice to the animated Redux Riding Hood (1997), which received an Oscar nomination for best short film.

    Raised on a ranch outside Walla Walla, Wash., West caught the attention of Batman producer William Dozier when he played Captain Quik, a James Bond-type character with a sailor’s cap, in commercials for Nestle’s Quik.

    West, who had appeared in many Warner Bros. television series as a studio contract player, was filming the spaghetti Western The Relentless Four (1965) in Europe at the time. He returned to the States to meet with Dozier, “read the pilot script and knew after 20 pages that it was the kind of comedy I wanted to do,” he said in a 2006 interview with the Archive of American Television.

    He signed a contract on the spot, only asking that he be given the chance to approve who would play his sidekick, Robin, the Boy Wonder. (He would OK the casting of Burt Ward, who had a brown belt in karate but zero acting experience).

    “The tone of our first show, by Lorenzo Semple Jr., was one of absurdity and tongue in cheek to the point that I found it irresistible,” West said. “I think they recognized that in me from what they’d seen me do before. I understood the material and brought something to it.

    “You can’t play Batman in a serious, square-jawed, straight-ahead way without giving the audience the sense that there’s something behind that mask waiting to get out, that he’s a little crazed, he’s strange.”

    The hunky Lyle Waggoner (later of The Carol Burnett Show) and Peter Deyell also tested to play the Gotham City crime fighters, but West and Ward clearly were superior, and Batman debuted at 7:30 p.m. on Jan. 12, 1966, a Wednesday.

    The cliffhanger episode would be resolved the very next night — Same Bat-time! Same Bat-channel! The show was originally intended to last an hour, but ABC split it up when it had two time slots available on its primetime schedule.

    West said that he played Batman “for laughs, but in order to do [that], one had to never think it was funny. You just had to pull on that cowl and believe that no one would recognize you.”

    The series, filmed in eye-popping bright colors in an era of black-and-white and featuring a revolving set of villains like the Riddler (Frank Gorshin), Joker (Cesar Romero), Penguin (Burgess Meredith) and Catwoman (Julie Newmar), was an immediate hit; the Thursday installment was No. 5 in the Nielsen ratings for the 1965-66 season, and the Wednesday edition was No. 10.


    Batman was nominated for the Emmy Award for outstanding comedy series in its first year, losing out to CBS’ The Dick Van Dyke Show. A 20th Century Fox movie was rushed into production and played in theaters in the summer before season two kicked off in September 1966.

    However, the popularity of the show soon plummeted, and Batman — despite the addition of Yvonne Craig as Batgirl — was canceled in March 1968 after its third season.

    West quickly struggled to find work, forced to make appearances in his cape and cowl at car shows and carnivals and in such obscure films as The Marriage of a Young Stockbroker (1971), written by Semple, and The Happy Hooker Goes Hollywood (1980). He and his family downsized, leaving their home in the tony Pacific Palisades for Ketchum, Idaho.

    “The people who were hiring, the people who were running the studios, running the shows, were dinosaurs,” the actor said in the 2013 documentary Starring Adam West. “They thought Batman was a big accident, that there was no real creative thought, expertise or art behind it. They were wrong.”

    He returned to voice his iconic character in such cartoons as The New Adventures of Batman, Legends of the Superheroes, SuperFriends: The Legendary Super Powers Show and The Simpsons, and Warner Bros.’ long-awaited DVD release of ABC’s Batman in 2014 brought him back into the Bat Signal’s spotlight.

    He was born William West Anderson in Seattle on Sept. 19, 1928, the second of two sons. His father, Otto, was a wheat farmer; his mother, Audrey, was a pianist and opera singer.

    West attended an all-boys high school, then graduated with a major in English literature from Whitman College. During his senior year, he worked for a local radio station, doing everything from Sunday morning religion shows to the news.

    He also starred in a couple of plays at the local theater. “I found that I could move an audience and I was appreciated,” he said.

    In the Army, West served as an announcer on American Forces Network television, then worked as the station manager at Stanford while he was a graduate student.

    He got a job at a McClatchy station in Sacramento, Calif., then moved to Hawaii, where he hosted a two-hour weekday show in the late 1950s with a diaper-wearing chimp named Peaches. (West said he once interviewed William Holden as the actor was passing through.)

    West got a contract at Warner Bros. at $150 a week and was placed in one of the studio’s TV series — Colt .45, Maverick, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, Cheyenne, etc. — pretty much every week.

    He got his first regular TV role when he played Det. Sgt. Steve Nelson under the command of Robert Taylor on the 1959-62 ABC/NBC series The Detectives, coming aboard when that show expanded to one hour in color.

    After he split with Warner Bros., West showed up in such forgettable films as Geronimo (1962) starring Chuck Connors, Tammy and the Doctor (1963) with Sandra Dee and in The Three Stooges film The Outlaws Is Coming (1965) before Batman changed his life forever.

    He later starred in a rejected 1991 NBC pilot episode called Lookwell — written by Conan O’Brien and Robert Smigel — in which he portrayed a once-famous TV detective who thinks he can solve crimes in real life.

    Then came the gig on MacFarlane’s Family Guy.

    “I had done a pilot with Seth that he had written for me. It turned out we had the same kind of comic sensibilities and got along well,” he said in a 2012 interview. “When Family Guy came around and Seth became brilliantly successful, he decided to call me and see what I was doing. He asked if I would like to come aboard as the mayor, and I thought it would be neat to do something sort of absurd and fun.”

    The documentary Starring Adam West culminates with him receiving a star on The Hollywood Hall of Fame in 2012.

    He married Marcelle in 1970; they met when she was the wife of the Lear Jet founder and they posed for a publicity photo at Santa Monica Airport, with him in his Batman costume. (They each had two children from their previous marriages, then added a couple of their own.)

    When Batman was canceled, “The only thing I thought is that it would be the end of me, and it was for a bit,” he told an audience at Comic-Con in 2014. “But then I realized that what we created in the show … we created this zany, lovable world.

    “I look around and I see the adults — I see you grew up with me, and you believe in the adventure. I never believed this would happen, that I would be up here with illustrious people like yourselves. I’m so grateful! I’m the luckiest actor in the world, folks, to have you still hanging around.”
     
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2017
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  3. Space_Time

    Space_Time Well-Known Member

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    https://www.space.com/37257-obituary-bill-dana-jose-jimenez-astronaut.html

    Bill Dana, Comedian Who Played Astronaut José Jiménez, Dies at 92
    By Robert Z. Pearlman, collectSPACE.com Editor | June 20, 2017 11:21am ET
    14 10 MORE
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    Bill Dana, Comedian Who Played Astronaut José Jiménez, Dies at 92
    Comedian Bill Dana, as he appeared as astronaut "José Jiménez" on "The Bill Dana Show" in 1963. Dana, 92, died on June 15.
    Credit: NBC
    "Okay, José, you're on your way!"

    With those words, radioed to Alan Shepard as he lifted off to become the first American astronaut to fly into space on May 5, 1961, Bill Dana's role in NASA history was sealed.

    Dana, a comedian whose performance as "José Jiménez" was bestowed the title of being the eighth of the Mercury 7 astronauts, died on Thursday (June 15). He was 92. [Photos from Alan Shepard's Freedom 7 Spaceflight]

    "He'll be missed not only by the astronaut family, but many more around the world," said Tammy Sudler, president and CEO of the Astronaut Scholarship Foundation. "Bill Dana was lovingly known as our honorary Mercury 8 astronaut."

    First created in 1959 for "The Steve Allen Show" and later appearing on "The Ed Sullivan Show," José Jiménez held several positions, including an elevator operator, a bobsled racer, a Navy submariner and a lion tamer, but it was as the shiny-spacesuited, reluctant astronaut that the Bolivian character became famous (Dana was of Hungarian-Jewish ancestry in reality).

    "What do you consider the most important thing in rocket travel?" asked Ed Sullivan, playing the straight man during one of Dana's better-known skits.

    "To me the most important thing in the rocket travel is the blast-off," said Dana.

    "The blast-off..." repeated Sullivan.

    "I always take a blast before I take off. Otherwise, I would not go near that thing," Dana quipped as Jiménez.

    Dana's José Jiménez routine was later released on record albums, rising to the Top 20 on the Billboard charts, which drew the attention of the real-life Mercury astronauts.

    "The astronauts, especially Shepard, absolutely loved the record, and listened to it in the office after intense training sessions," author Neal Thompson described in "Light This Candle" (Crown, 2004), his biography of the first astronaut. "Shepard even tape recorded the album and during lulls between training exercises or during test launches at the Cape would play the tapes at full volume near the Mission Control loudspeakers."

    The astronaut and comedian first met at a Cocoa Beach night club, where Shepard — from out in the audience and without the prior knowledge of Dana — took on the role of the straight man, setting up Jiménez's replies. Soon, fellow astronauts Wally Schirra and Deke Slayton joined in.

    "The club was roaring as the three astronauts took turns," wrote Thompson. After the show, Dana hurried to a phone to call his producer in New York.

    "'They know us. They know every word. And they love us," exclaimed Dana, as described by Thompson.

    Cover art for Bill Dana's "Jose Jimenez in Orbit."

    Credit: Kapp Records
    Shepard and the other astronauts' fondness for Dana and his character led to José Jiménez becoming the unofficial mascot of the Mercury program. In addition to inspiring the 1961 launch call between Slayton (in the blockhouse) and Shepard (on top of a Redstone rocket), Dana performed at President John F. Kennedy's inaugural ball with Shepard in attendance.

    The comedian also inspired a "gotcha" — a practical joke — that Shepard arranged in secret for John Glenn to discover once aboard his Friendship 7 Mercury spacecraft. Opening up a pouch while in orbit, Glenn was surprised by a small stuffed mouse floating free, a reference to the "leetle mice" Jiménez would cite as fellow test subjects in his routine.

    Born William Szathmary in Quincy, Massachusetts on Oct. 5, 1924, Dana served as a gunner and mortarman in the U.S. Army during World War II. Dana began his career in comedy as a page and a writer for other comedians' stand-up routines.

    Later, after gaining fame in his own right, Dana became a screenwriter for television and movies, writing the Emmy-Award-winning "All in the Family" episode, "Sammy Davis Visits Archie Bunker" (1972), penning jokes for the "Donny and Marie" show (1977-1978), and co-writing the script for the "Get Smart" film "The Nude Bomb" (1980). Dana also had a recurring role as Angelo, brother to Sophia Petrillo (Estelle Getty) on the NBC sitcom, "The Golden Girls."

    Dana also showed up as José Jiménez in a number of TV cameos, including as part of a 1966 episode of "Batman," appearing alongside the late Adam West and Burt Ward.

    The character eventually fell out of favor due to pressure from Hispanic groups and Dana retired the role in 1970, but he would later reunite with the astronauts through their Mercury 7 (later, Astronaut Scholarship) Foundation, and even reprised the skit at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in Florida for a 2002 gala celebrating the 40th anniversary of the first U.S. orbital spaceflights.

    A voting member of the nominations committee of the National Aviation Hall of Fame, Dana was acknowledged in the Smithsonian's National Air and Space Museum in Washington, D.C. and in the U.S. Astronaut Hall of Fame in Florida. He was honored with the first Impact award by the National Hispanic Media Coalition and was presented with a lifetime achievement award by the Pacific Broadcast Pioneers of Radio and Television in 2006.

    In 2005, Dana co-founded the American Comedy Archives at Emerson College, his alma mater, in Boston.

    Follow collectSPACE.com on Facebook and on Twitter at @collectSPACE. Copyright 2017 collectSPACE.com. All rights reserved.
     
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2017
  4. Space_Time

    Space_Time Well-Known Member

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    He actually turned down the role of Mr. Spock:

    https://www.yahoo.com/movies/martin-landau-oscar-winner-ed-wood-dies-89-002931805.html

    Martin Landau, Oscar Winner for 'Ed Wood,' Star of Original 'Mission: Impossible,' Dies at 89
    The Hollywood Reporter 1 hour 33 minutes ago

    Johnny Depp as Ed Wood and Martin Landau as Bela Lugosi in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood (Photo: Disney/Touchstone)
    By Mike Barnes, The Hollywood Reporter

    Martin Landau, the all-purpose actor who showcased his versatility as a master of disguise on the Mission: Impossible TV series and as a broken-down Bela Lugosi in his Oscar-winning performance in Ed Wood, has died. He was 89.

    His publicist has confirmed that Landau, who shot to fame by playing a homosexual henchman in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 classic North by Northwest, died Saturday after a brief stay at UCLA Medical Center.

    After he quit CBS’ Mission: Impossible after three seasons in 1969 because of a contract dispute, Landau’s career was on the rocks until he was picked by Francis Ford Coppola to play Abe Karatz, the business partner of visionary automaker Preston Tucker (Jeff Bridges), in Tucker: The Man and His Dream (1988).

    Landau received a best supporting actor nomination for that performance, then backed it up the following year with another nom for starring as Judah Rosenthal, an ophthalmologist who has his mistress (Angelica Huston) killed, in Woody Allen’s Crimes and Misdemeanors (1989).

    Landau lost out on Oscar night to Kevin Kline and Denzel Washington, respectively, in those years but finally prevailed for his larger-than-life portrayal of horror-movie legend Lugosi in the biopic Ed Wood (1994), directed by Tim Burton.

    Landau also starred as Commander John Koenig on the 1970s science-fiction series Space: 1999opposite his Mission: Impossible co-star Barbara Bain, his wife from 1957 until their divorce in 1993.

    A former newspaper cartoonist, Landau turned down the role of Mr. Spock in the NBC series Star Trek, which went to Leonard Nimoy (who later effectively replaced Landau on Mission: Impossibleafter Trek was canceled).

    Landau also was an admired acting teacher who taught the craft to the likes of Jack Nicholson. And in the 1950s, he was best friends with James Dean and, for several months, the boyfriend of Marilyn Monroe. “She could be wonderful, but she was incredibly insecure, to the point she could drive you crazy,” he told The New York Times in 1988.

    Landau was born in Brooklyn on June 20, 1928. At age 17, he landed a job as a cartoonist for the New York Daily News, but he turned down a promotion and quit five years later to pursue acting.

    “It was an impulsive move on my part to do that,” Landau told The Jewish Journal in 2013. “To become an actor was a dream I must’ve had so deeply and so strongly because I left a lucrative, well-paying job that I could do well to become an unemployed actor. It’s crazy if you think about it. To this day, I can still hear my mother’s voice saying, ‘You did what?!’ ”

    In 1955, he auditioned for Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio (choosing a scene from Clifford Odets’ Clash by Night against the advice of friends), and he and Steve McQueen were the only new students accepted that year out of the 2,000-plus aspirants who had applied.

    With his dark hair and penetrating blue eyes, Landau found success on New York stages in Goat Song, Stalag 17 and First Love. Hitchcock caught his performance on opening night opposite Edward G. Robinson in a road production of Middle of the Night, the first Broadway play written by Paddy Chayefsky, and cast him as the killer Leonard in North by Northwest.

    In Middle of the Night, “I played a very macho guy, 180 degrees from Leonard, who I chose to play as a homosexual — very subtly — because he wanted to get rid of Eva Marie Saint with such a vengeance,” he recalled in a 2012 interview.

    As the ally of James Mason and nemesis of Saint and Cary Grant, Landau plummets to his death off Mount Rushmore in the movie’s climactic scene. With his slick, sinister gleam and calculating demeanor, he attracted the notice of producers and directors.

    He went on to perform for such top directors as Joseph L. Mankiewicz in Cleopatra (1963) — though he said most of his best work on that film was sent to the cutting-room floor — George Stevens in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965), John Sturges in The Hallelujah Trail (1965) and Henry Hathaway in Nevada Smith (1966).

    Landau met Bruce Geller, the eventual creator of Mission: Impossible, when he invited the writer to an acting class. Bain was in the class as well, and Geller wrote for them the parts of spies Rollin Hand and Cinnamon Carter. Landau earned an Emmy nomination for each of his three seasons on the series.

    He could have starred in another series.

    “I turned down Star Trek. It would’ve been torturous,” he said during a 2011 edition of the PBS documentary series Pioneers of Television. “I would’ve probably died playing that role. I mean, even the thought of it now upsets me. It was the antithesis of why I became an actor. I mean, to play a character that Lenny (Nimoy) was better suited for, frankly, a guy who speaks in a monotone who never gets excited, never has any guilt, never has any fear or was affected on a visceral level. Who wants to do that?”

    Landau found a kindred spirit in Burton, who also cast him in Sleepy Hollow (1999) and as the voice of a Vincent Price-like science teacher in the horror-movie homage, Frankenweenie (2012).

    “Tim and I don’t finish a sentence,” Landau told the Los Angeles Times in 2012. “There’s something oddly kinesthetic about it. We kind of understand each other.”

    Landau played puppet master Geppetto in a pair of Pinocchio films and appeared in such films as Pork Chop Hill (1959), City Hall (1996), The X-Files: Fight the Future (1998), Rounders (1998), Edtv(1999), The Majestic (2001), Lovely, Still (2008) and Mysteria (2011).

    On television, he starred in the Twilight Zone episodes “Mr. Denton on Doomsday” and and “The Jeopardy Room,” played the title role in the 1999 Showtime telefilm Bonnano: A Godfather’s Storyand could be found on The Untouchables, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, Maverick, Wanted: Dead or Alive, Wagon Train, I Spy and The Man From U.N.C.L.E.

    More recently, Landau earned Emmy noms for playing the father of Anthony LaPaglia’s character on CBS’ Without a Trace and guest-starring as an out-of-touch movie producer on HBO’s Entourage. He portrayed billionaire J. Howard Marshall, the 90-year-old husband of Anna Nicole Smith, in a 2013 Lifetime biopic about the sex symbol, and starred for Atom Egoyan opposite Christopher Plummer in Remember (2015).

    Landau worked as director, teacher and executive director at the Actors Studio West. He has been credited with helping to guide the talents of such actors as Nicholson, Huston, Warren Oates and Harry Dean Stanton.

    Survivors include his daughters Susan (a casting director) and Juliet (an actress-dancer) from his marriage to Bain.
     
  5. Space_Time

    Space_Time Well-Known Member

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    http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/movies/la-me-george-romero-20170716-story.html

    George A. Romero, 'Night of the Living Dead' creator, dies at 77
    George A. Romero
    Legendary horror movie director George A. Romero, pictured here in 2008, died Sunday. (Robert Gauthier / Los Angeles Times)
    Tre'vell Anderson Tre'vell AndersonContact Reporter
    It was the night of April 4, 1968, and George A. Romero was driving to New York City from Pittsburgh on a mission: In the days to come he was to meet with film studios in hopes that one might buy the horror film he was lugging in his trunk, “Night of the Flesh Eaters.”

    None of the studios was interested, but Romero still managed to get his $114,000 film in front of audiences that year. And though critics panned the picture, retitled “Night of the Living Dead,” moviegoers were mesmerized — packing theaters, hitting the drive-ins in droves and making Romero the father of the modern movie zombie. Romero’s “Living Dead” franchise went on to create a subgenre of horror movie whose influence across the decades has endured, seen in movies like “The Purge” and TV shows like “The Walking Dead.”

    Romero died Sunday in his sleep after a “brief but aggressive battle with lung cancer,” according to a family statement to The Times provided by his longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald. He was 77.

    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.
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    Romero will be remembered best for co-writing (with John A. Russo) and directing “Night of the Living Dead,” which showed later 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 own sequels were 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.”

    George Romero through the years
    Director George Romero is known for his zombie films, most notably "Night of the Living Dead."
    To get that first film made, however, Romero turned to a resourceful team of Pittsburgh TV-commercial producers. For distribution, the rookie filmmaker turned to the Walter Reade Organization, the parent of Continental Releasing, which specialized in artsy movies like John Cassavetes’ “Faces.” The director and his team got 14 prints made, handled their own promotion and opened the picture at 14 local theaters. They financed a world premiere on Halloween night.

    Most critics trashed the movie, with Daily Variety citing “unrelieved sadism … which casts serious aspersions on the integrity of its makers.” But audiences loved it, and drive-in operators took out newspaper ads to apologize for turning away so many customers.

    Romero once told The Times that he was surprised at critics’ reactions; he said Roger Ebert's review all but called “Living Dead” a movie spawned by the devil.

    Over time, however, fans have pointed out that, setting aside the graphic violence that made Romero’s work so distinct, there were sociopolitical messages that made his movies noteworthy, starting with the casting of that first “Living Dead” picture.

    “I think the reason it got noticed was the fact that we used an African American actor in a role that didn’t need to be played by an African American actor, and then he gets gunned down by this posse,” Romero said, noting that the role was originally written for a white man. On the night of that drive to New York City, he said, “we heard on the radio that [the Rev. Martin Luther] King had been assassinated. So now all of a sudden the power of the film was ratcheted up that much more.”

    “Living Dead” went on to gross upward of $50 million.

    “He took the image of the zombie, which up to that point was rooted in the Caribbean and part of a black Caribbean culture, and turned it into a metaphor for all sorts of things in American culture,” said Leo Braudy, a USC professor who last year published “Haunted: On Ghosts, Witches, Vampires, Zombies, and Other Monsters of the Natural and Supernatural Worlds.”

    Up to this point, Braudy said, horror movies focused on individuals like Frankenstein’s monster, Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. “The zombie is unique because it’s part of a group representing the potential threat of a mass mind,” he said.

    Romero solidified his reputation as a master of the genre with the sequel “Dawn of the Dead,” which premiered in the U.S. in 1979 and became one of the most profitable independent productions in film history. The franchise would eventually encompass six films — the first four, released decades apart, are one storyline.

    “‘Night of the Living Dead,’ then ‘Dawn of the Dead’ is a few weeks later, ‘Day of the Dead’ months later and ‘Land of the Dead’ is three years later,” Romero said. “Each one spoke about a different decade and was stylistically different. After ‘Land,’ I wanted to do something about emerging media and citizen journalism.”

    “Night of the Living Dead” evoked Vietnam-era bloodshed and, with its black male lead trapped in a farmhouse, echoed some of the hysteria in the civil rights era. “Dawn of the Dead” poked fun at soul-deadening consumerism, and “Day of the Dead” addressed ethics in science. In “Land of the Dead,” Romero tackled safety and boundaries, showing a community fortifying itself against a murderous horde while its wealthiest citizens keep alive class divisions.

    But part of what made Romero’s films so distinctive, no doubt, was their unbridled gore, which caused many of the movies to go unrated.

    “I just don’t shy away from it,” he said in a 2010 interview with The Times, noting that “the old DC comic books were very, very graphic before the old Comics Code cleaned them up.

    “Hard-core horror fans would like to see more and more of it. It’s the fun part. It’s the payoff. It’s the downhill dip on the roller coaster.”

    Romero did, however, draw a difference between his gore-for-purpose approach and new movies that he categorized as “torture porn things.”

    “They’re just mean-spirited and Grand Guignol all the way,” he said referencing an infamous Parisian theater that specialized in naturalistic horror shows. “I don’t find any substance underlying it. I like to use horror as allegory.”

    George Andrew Romero was born in the Bronx in New York City on Feb. 4, 1940. He attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, graduating in 1961 from the university’s College of Fine Arts. He stayed in Pittsburgh for much of his feature film career.

    In the years immediately after “Night of the Living Dead,” he made films that were less popular, including 1971’s “There’s Always Vanilla,” 1973’s “The Crazies” and 1978’s “Martin.”

    Between other “Dead” films he directed the 1981 film “Knightriders,” starring Ed Harris; the 1988 movie “Monkey Shines,” his first studio-produced film, which introduced him to Grunwald; and “Two Evil Eyes,” a 1990 horror film he made with Italian filmmaker Dario Argento inspired by Edgar Allan Poe short stories. His last credit as a writer was for his characters’ appearance in 2017’s “Day of the Dead” from director Hèctor Hernández Vicens.

    The movies and TV shows that have taken their cues from Romero’s work — “World War Z,” “28 Days Later,” “Shaun of the Dead” — seem almost too numerous to count. And though the popularity of something like “The Walking Dead” would seem to be a compliment to Romero, he once called that juggernaut “a soap opera with a zombie occasionally.

    “I always used the zombie as a character for satire or a political criticism, and I find that missing in what’s happening now,” he said in 2013.

    But therein lies what set Romero apart, Braudy said.

    “He remained true to his outside Hollywood roots,” he said, calling the filmmaker a “tremendous influence on the independent film industry because he didn’t have to be in Hollywood to make films that attracted wide audiences. He continues to be a lasting example of the idea that Hollywood needs to be reenergized from outside, independent perspectives.”

    Romero is survived by his wife, his daughter, his son Andrew Romero and, from his earlier marriage to Christine Romero, his son Cam Romero.
     

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