Zom­bies Z mourn Romero

New York Post - - NEWS -

George A. Romero, god­fa­ther of the modern zom­bie-apoc­a­lypse flick and cre­ator of the 1968 hor­ror mas­ter­piece “Night of the Liv­ing Dead,” died Sun­day of can­cer, his fam­ily said. He was 77.

The Bronx-born di­rec­tor, who fought a “brief but ag­gres­sive battle with lung can­cer,” passed on peace­fully in Toronto with his wife and daugh­ter by his side, ac­cord­ing to a state­ment from his pro­duc­ing part­ner, Peter Grun­wald.

Romero spent his fi­nal mo­ments lis­ten­ing to the score of one his fa­vorite films, 1952’s “The Quiet Man,” the Los An­ge­les Times re­ported.

The hor­ror-film au­teur had been liv­ing in Canada af­ter be­com­ing a dual ci­ti­zen in 2009.

Romero is con­sid­ered to have cre­ated the modern-day zom­bie genre af­ter “Night of the Liv­ing Dead” and its se­quels spawned dozens of knock­offs.

“Night of the Liv­ing Dead,” co-writ­ten with John A. Russo, tells the tale of or­di­nary towns­folk get­ting munched on by those who had re­cently es­caped the grave.

Al­though renowned for its ter­ror el­e­ment, Romero’s movie also made a civil-rights state­ment with the cast­ing of Duane Jones, an AfricanAmer­i­can, in the lead.

Romero said he wasn’t nec­es­sar­ily look­ing for an AfricanAmer­i­can lead, but Jones per­formed the best in au­di­tions.

“Per­haps ‘Night of the Liv­ing Dead’ is the first film to have a black man play­ing the lead role re­gard­less of, rather than be­cause of, his race,” he re- called in a 2010 in­ter­view with The Wrap.

Romero at­tended Carnegie Mel­lon Univer­sity in Pitts­burgh — the area that in­spired “Night of the Liv­ing Dead,” which was filmed near Evans City, Pa.

Romero has said he was flat­tered to be im­i­tated by film­mak­ers like Tobe Hooper and John Car­pen­ter, but he wasn’t a big fan of the new hor­ror.

He said pro­duc­ers of the TV se­ries “The Walk­ing Dead” asked him to direct a few episodes, but he said no.

“Ba­si­cally, it’s just a soap opera with a zom­bie oc­ca­sion­ally,” he told the Big Is­sue in 2013.

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

FLESH MOB: Di­rec­tor George A. Romero is sur­rounded by “zom­bies” at the Los An­ge­les pre­miere of “Sur­vival of the Dead” in 2010.

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