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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:

As did the creator of Goosebumps:

Romero’s influence was widely recognized in Hollywood.

Comedian Kumail Nanjiani (The Big Sick) praised Romero’s genre innovation:

Noted nerd and Criminal Minds star Matthew Gray Gubler was a lifelong fan:

The director of Baby Driver and, most pertinently, Shaun of the Dead, penned his own memorial:

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John Carpenter, creator of The Thing and fellow master of the cult classic:

Romero’s impact went beyond inventing the genre of zombie-horror:

And Jordan Peele’s 2017 smash hit Get Out was clearly influenced by Romero’s work on Night of the Living Dead.

Others made the obvious joke:

Most importantly, life lessons were learned from his work:

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