I was at work tonight when news broke that George A. Romero passed away this morning, July 16th 2017, following a battle with lung cancer. I was immediately struck with such sadness and loss that was so unexpected and I was surrounded by people who just didn’t care that “the dude that directed Night of the Living Dead” had passed on to a happier, quieter, more peaceful place. I felt alone. And that’s why the loss of George A. Romero, and other legends in the genre, is so difficult. George gave me, Hell – all horror fans, the gift of a reprieve when life became too stressful and we needed to check out for a bit. All we needed to due to escape the stress and drama of real life is pop in our copy of Night of the Living Dead, Dawn of the Dead, Day of the Dead, Land of the Dead, Diary of the Dead or Survival of the Dead. Or maybe even Season of the Witch, The Crazies, Martin, Creepshow or Bruiser – if those are more your thing.
As soon as Mr. Romero’s movies started, we were gifted with an hour and a half to forget about the worries and hardships of every day life. We were able to escape into the worlds he created, invest in characters that made us feel less alone. We smiled and we hid in fright. Losing George, even at age 77, is a tremendous blow because he was the friend we didn’t even know we had. Many, if not most, of us have never met him – and unfortunately we’ll never get the chance – but he was a part of our lives in such a profound way. He gave those working in the industry something to inspire to, he birthed a subgenre that’s currently represented by “The Walking Dead,” and his movies were the center-point of so many important memories with fellow friends and horror fans. I sincerely hope that he knows how much he meant to people.
Chris Roe, the hit-maker’s manager posted on Facebook: “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. 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. The family asks for their privacy to be respected at this time.” I almost can’t finish reading the statement without getting choked up. As I’m sure many of you are in tears and mourning this loss at this time, please continue to watch Romero movies for many years to come. Please continue to keep his memory alive. Please continue to make new memories with others while gathered around a television watching Night of the Living Dead.
Now, I’m going to watch Dawn of the Dead and have a glass of wine while this all sinks in.
R.I.P. George A. Romero
Feb 4. 1940 – July 16 2017