Filmmaker George A. Romero died in Toronto, Ontario,  July 16, 2017.  He passed away peacefully in his sleep, surrounded by his family, after losing his battle with lung cancer.  He was 77 years old.

George A. Romero in the documentary "Midnight Movies: From the Margin to the Mainstream"

George A. Romero {image via IFC}

George Romero was one of the most prominent filmmakers in the horror genre.  He was responsible for changing zombies from undead creatures in Haiti or Louisiana who mindlessly obeyed their hougans to the brain-eating creatures of the modern zombie apocalypse.  He directed and co-wrote the classic horror film Night of the Living Dead in 1968.  He followed it up with Dawn of the Dead in 1978,  Day of the Dead in 1985, Land of the Dead in 2005,  Diary of the Dead in 2007,  and George A. Romero’s Survival of the Dead in 2009.  He influenced other filmmakers and authors, including Stephen King, Seth Grahame-Smith, John Carpenter, Robert Kirkman, Kim Newman, Jack Thomas Smith, and Edgar Wright.  Without his influence, we would have neither the popular TV show The Walking Dead nor the video game “Plants vs. Zombies.”  Stephen King referred to Romero as his “favorite collaborator,” as well as a good friend.

George A. Romero changed the way the world looked at zombies.

George A. Romero {photo by Franco Origlia/Getty Images}

Romero was born in New York City, in the Bronx, February 4, 1940.  He began his film career while still a student, making amateur films.  He attended Carnegie Mellon University in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.  During summer vacations, he apprenticed as a grip and an assistant cameraman.  He worked with horror master Alfred Hitchcock on North by Northwest.  After graduating from college, he began shooting commercials and short films, including a segment for Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood.  In 1968 Romero made Night of the Living Dead, and after that, his reputation as a horror filmmaker was established.

George Romero became a Canadian citizen in 2009.

{image via The Latent Image, Inc.}

Romero combined horror with social commentary.  Most of his films were shot on a low budget (by Hollywood standards, usually in or around Pittsburgh. His personal favorite of his many films was Martin, a 1978 vampire movie.  His best known movie outside of the Living Dead series is probably Creepshow, a 1982 collaboration with Stephen King.  Some of Romero’s other popular films include Knightriders, Monkey Shines, The Dark Half, and Bruiser.  He was executive producer of the TV show Tales from the Darkside for 77 of its 90 episodes.  He wrote Toe Tags for DC Comics and Empire of the Dead for Marvel Comics.

George A. Romero was a writer, a director, a producer, and a cinematographer.  Romero is survived by his third wife, Suzanne Desrocher Romero, his daughter, Tina, and his sons, Andrew and Cameron.

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