GEORGE ROMERO Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: George Andrew Romero                                                                   
Born: 4 February 1940 New York, NY, U.S.                                                     
George Andrew Romero (born February 4, 1940) is an American director, writer,               
editor and actor. He is best known for his Dead Series of five horror movies                 
featuring a zombie apocalypse theme and commentary on modern society.                       
Romero was born in New York City to a Cuban American father and a Lithuanian-American       
mother. His father worked as a commercial artist. Romero attended                           
Pittsburgh's Carnegie Mellon University. After graduating in 1960, he began                 
his career shooting short films and commercials. One of his early commercial                 
films, a segment for Mister Rogers' Neighborhood in which Mr. Rogers underwent a             
tonsillectomy, inspired Romero to go into the horror film business. He and                   
friends formed Image Ten Productions in the late 1960s, and they chipped in                 
roughly $10,000 apiece to produce what became one of the most celebrated horror             
films of all time: Night of the Living Dead (1968). The movie, directed by                   
Romero and co-written with John A. Russo, became a cult classic and a defining               
moment for modern horror cinema. Romero updated his original screenplay and                 
executive produced the remake of Night of the Living Dead directed by Tom Savini             
for Columbia / Tristar in 1990.                                                             
Romero's films during the years after 1968's Night of the Living Dead were less             
popular: There's Always Vanilla (1971), Jack's Wife / Season of the Witch (1972)             
and The Crazies (1973). Though not as acclaimed as Night of the Living Dead or               
some of his later work, these films have his signature social commentary while               
dealing with primarily horror-related issues at the microscopic level. The                   
Crazies, dealing with a biospill that induces an epidemic of homicidal madness,             
and the critically acclaimed arthouse success Martin (1977), a film that                     
strikingly deconstructs the vampire myth, were the two standout efforts during               
this period. Like almost all of his films, they were shot in or around Romero's             
favorite city of Pittsburgh.                                                                 
In 1978, Romero returned to the zombie genre with Dawn of the Dead (1978). Shot             
on a budget of just $500,000 (the producers gave a false figure of $1.5 million             
to help their negotiating position with distributors), the film earned over $55             
million worldwide and was named one of the top cult films by Entertainment                   
Weekly in 2003. Romero made a third entry in his "Dead Series" with Day of the               
Dead (1985), which was less popular at the box office, but has since gone on to             
gain a cult following thanks to VHS and DVD releases.                                       
During this period, Romero also made Knightriders (1981), another festival                   
favorite about a group of modern-day jousters who reenact tournaments on                     
motorcycles, and the successful Creepshow (1982), written by Stephen King, an               
anthology of tongue-in-cheek tales modeled after 1950s horror comics.                       
Throughout the latter half of the 1980s and 1990s, Romero made various films,               
including Monkey Shines (1988) about a killer helper monkey, Two Evil Eyes (1990),           
an Edgar Allan Poe adaptation in collaboration with Dario Argento, the Stephen               
King adaptation The Dark Half (1992) and Bruiser (2000), about a man whose face             
becomes a blank mask.                                                                       
Romero had a cameo appearance in Jonathan Demme's Academy Award-winning The                 
Silence of the Lambs in 1991 as one of Hannibal Lecter's jailers.                           
In 1998, Romero returned to the horror scene, this time with a commercial. He               
directed the live action commercial shot (promoting the videogame Resident Evil             
2) which was shot in Tokyo, Japan. The 30-second advertisement was live action               
and featured the game's two main characters, Leon S. Kennedy and Claire Redfield,           
fighting a horde of zombies while in Raccoon City's Police Station. The project             
was a natural for Romero, as the Resident Evil series has been heavily                       
influenced by Romero's "Dead" projects. The commercial was rather popular and               
was released in the weeks before the game's actual release, although a contract             
dispute prevented the commercial from being shown outside Japan. Capcom was so               
impressed with Romero's work, it was strongly indicated that Romero would direct             
the first Resident Evil film. He initially declined, stating in an interview, "I             
don't wanna make another film with zombies in it, and I couldn't make a movie               
based on something that ain't mine", although in later years he                             
reconsidered and wrote a script for the first movie. While many were impressed               
with the script (which garnered positive reviews), it was eventually rejected in             
favor of Paul W.S. Anderson's far less faithful treatment.                                   
Universal Studios produced and released a remake of Dawn of the Dead in 2004,               
with which Romero was not involved. Later that year, Romero kicked off the DC               
Comics title Toe Tags with a six-issue miniseries titled The Death of Death.                 
Based on an unused script that Romero had previously written as a sequel to his             
"Dead Trilogy", the comic miniseries concerns Damien, an intelligent zombie who             
remembers his former life, struggling to find his identity as he battles armies             
of both the living and the dead. Typical of a Romero zombie tale, the miniseries             
includes ample supply of both gore and social commentary (dealing particularly               
here with corporate greed and terrorism - ideas he would also explore in his                 
next film in the series, Land of the Dead). Romero has stated that the                       
miniseries is set in the same kind of world as his "Dead" films, but featured               
other locales besides Pittsburgh, where the majority of his films take place.               
Romero, who lives in Toronto, Ontario, Canada and has applied for permanent                 
residency there, filmed a fourth "Dead" movie in that city titled Land of the               
Dead. The movie's working title was "Dead Reckoning". Its $16 million                       
production budget was the highest of the four movies in the series. Actors                   
Dennis Hopper, Asia Argento and John Leguizamo star in the film. It was released             
on June 24, 2005 to generally positive reviews.                                             
Some critics have seen social commentary in much of Romero's work. They view                 
Night of the Living Dead as a film made in reaction to the turbulent 1960s, Dawn             
of the Dead as a satire on consumerism, Day of the Dead as a study of the                   
conflict between science and the military, and Land of the Dead as an                       
examination of class conflict.                                                               
Romero is currently separated from his wife, Christine Forrest, whom he met on               
the set of Season of the Witch. They have two children together.