George A. Romero, ‘Night of the Living Dead’ Creator, Dies At 77

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Legendary filmmaker George A. Romero (February 4, 1940 – July 16, 2017), the father of the modern movie zombie and creator of the groundbreaking “Night of the Living Dead” franchise, has died at 77.

Director George Romero at Cannes in 2005. Known for his zombie films, most notably “Night of the Living Dead.” Director George Romero at Cannes in 2005. (LA TIMES)

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

Director George Romero in 1984.(Warner Bros./LA Times)

Romero jump-started the zombie genre as the co-writer (with John A. Russo) and director of the 1968 movie “Night of the Living Dead,” which went to show future 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 sequels included 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 in Beverly Hills in 2005. (Lawrence K. Ho / Los Angeles Times)

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