Director George A. Romero, renowned for his shoestring Living Dead suite of films that launched the zombie-movie genre, has died at 77 of lung cancer.
Romero's Night of the Living Dead (1968), shot in black-and-white for just over $100,000, grossed $30 million and captivated moviegoers with its subtly artsy, not-so-subtly gory, vision of an undead takeover, and how human beings reacted to it. It was also noteworthy for its use of a black actor as its hero (Duane Jones, 1937-1988).
The others in his zombie series are Dawn of the Dead (1978), Day of the Dead (1985), Land of the Dead (2005), Diary of the Dead (2007) and his final stagger into the genre, Survival of the Dead (2009).
Along with his zombie classics, Romero directed 10 other films, including the throwaway rom com There's Always Vanilla (1971), the lusty witchcraft flick Season of the Witch (1973), the biological warfare cult classic The Crazies (1973), the acclaimed vampire film Martin (1978) and the commercial horror anthology Creepshow (1982), the latter written by Stephen King (b. 1947).
Romero is survived by his wife and two children.