American director George A. Romero was making films from the age of 14 -- like most teen movie enthusiasts, with an 8 mm camera. Matriculating into the industrial-film business in Pittsburgh, Romero accrued enough capital to make his first feature-length film in 1968, a graphically gruesome zombie picture entitled Night of the Living Dead. Barely making back its cost on its initial release, the movie received some welcome, if adverse, publicity when Reader's Digest devoted an article to it. The magazine was appalled at the scenes of cannibalism and similar horrors, going so far as to insist that a movement be started to have the picture banned. Naturally, this made the movie more popular than ever, much more so than if Reader's Digest had simply ignored it. And the subsequent profits of Night of the Living Dead enabled Romero to finance several more low-budget scare pictures before he broke into the mainstream with Dawn of the Dead in 1978, a semi-comic sequel to his first film. Day of the Dead (1985), the third of the Dead Trilogy, was more elaborate than his earlier productions, but also more disappointing. Still, Romero could point with pride to such films as Creepshow (1980), Martin (1978), and his weekly TV terror anthology Tales From the Darkside (1984-1986), which belied its tiny budget with excellent writing, first-rate actors (Barnard Hughes, Fritz Weaver, Jerry Stiller, Eddie Bracken, et al.) and bone-chilling makeup effects. Although remaining in the realm of B-movies by choice, Romero has exerted considerable influence on an entire school of higher-budget horror directors, notably John Carpenter, Wes Craven, and especially Brian De Palma. Romero is married to actress and long-time collaborator Christine Forrest.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- His father is Cuban, his mother is Lithuanian.
- Formed a Pittsburgh production company called Latent Image, which created industrial films and TV commercials, in the early 1960s.
- Made his feature-film directorial debut in 1968 with the zombie-horror classic Night of the Living Dead, which spawned several sequels and was eventually inducted into the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress.
- Met his second wife, Christine Forrest, while he was working on the 1972 horror-drama Season of the Witch, which was produced by his first wife, Nancy Romero.
- Made a cameo appearance in 1991's The Silence of the Lambs.
- Received the New York City Horror Film Festival's Lifetime Achievement Award in 2002 and the CineVegas International Film Festival's Vanguard Director Award in 2005.