How celebrities are mourning the death of George Romero, Toronto’s own zombie auteur
George A. Romero, the director hailed as the inventor of the modern zombie movie, died on Sunday in Toronto. His most iconic film, Night of the Living Dead, was released in 1968, at the height of racial tensions in the United States. Romero cast Duane Jones, a black man, as the main character, who survives an undead onslaught only to be killed the next morning by nervous white neighbours. The movie has been acclaimed as one of the best works of horror ever created. Romero moved to Toronto in 2004. He lived here with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher.
“I have a soft spot in my heart for the zombies,” Romero once told an interviewer. “They are multipurpose, you can’t really get angry at them, they have no hidden agendas, they are what they are. I sympathize with them.”
Shortly after news of his passing was announced, actors, film buffs, novelists, and others mourned the loss on Twitter.
The king of horror writing paid his respects:
Sad to hear my favorite collaborator–and good old friend–George Romero has died. George, there will never be another like you.
— Stephen King (@StephenKing) July 16, 2017
As did the creator of Goosebumps:
George Romero was a hero of horror. He invented the modern vampire movie. R. I. P.
— R.L. Stine (@RL_Stine) July 17, 2017
Romero’s influence was widely recognized in Hollywood.
Comedian Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) praised Romero’s genre innovation:
R.I.P. George Romero. A true legend. Started a new genre on his own. Who else can claim that?
— Kumail Nanjiani (@kumailn) July 16, 2017
Noted nerd and Criminal Minds star Matthew Gray Gubler was a lifelong fan:
some kids had michael jordan posters, some had yellow ferrari posters, i had 1 of george romero i printed on 2 tone office paper #RIPromero
— matthew gray gubler (@GUBLERNATION) July 17, 2017
The director of Baby Driver and, most pertinently, Shaun of the Dead, penned his own memorial:
— edgarwright (@edgarwright) July 17, 2017
John Carpenter, creator of The Thing and fellow master of the cult classic:
George Romero was a great director, the father of modern horror movies. He was my friend and I will miss him. Rest in peace, George.
— John Carpenter (@TheHorrorMaster) July 16, 2017
Romero’s impact went beyond inventing the genre of zombie-horror:
George Romero was one of the first Hollywood directors who believed that black men could be heroes. We’ll miss him. https://t.co/TZwidGCnGb
— Jamil Smith (@JamilSmith) July 16, 2017
And Jordan Peele’s 2017 smash hit Get Out was clearly influenced by Romero’s work on Night of the Living Dead.
Romero started it. pic.twitter.com/i4dnxi8EFV
— Jordan Peele (@JordanPeele) July 16, 2017
Others made the obvious joke:
RIP George Romero. He might be back.
— marc maron (@marcmaron) July 17, 2017
— Dave Itzkoff (@ditzkoff) July 16, 2017
I don't want to alarm anyone, but I think I just saw George Romero…
— Stephen Lautens (@stephenlautens) July 17, 2017
Most importantly, life lessons were learned from his work:
George Romero taught me it was okay to be dead
— shut up, mike (@shutupmikeginn) July 16, 2017