Horror Legend George A. Romero, Night of the Living Dead Director, Dead at 77

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Photo: Lars Niki/Getty Images for Museum of Modern Art, Department of Film

George A. Romero, the filmmaking father of cinematic zombie horror, died today at the age of 77. “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,” Romero’s manager Chris Roe said in a statement. “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.”

Modern TV and film are currently swarming with zombie hordes, but it was Romero who pioneered the subgenre in 1968’s Night of the Living Dead. The horror hit spawned a host of sequels, including 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 Survival of the Dead, all directed by Romero. His non-zombie films included cult classics like Monkey Shines and the Stephen King anthology Creepshow. When discussing today’s undead fever in November 2016, Romero said of his zombie legacy, “My films, I’ve tried to put a message into them. It’s not about the gore, it’s not about the horror elements that are in them.” The director explained, “It’s more about the message, for me. That’s what it is, and I’m using this platform to be able to show my feelings of what I think.”

Night of the Living Dead Legend George A. Romero Dead at 77