ROGER CORMAN Biography - Theater, Opera and Movie personalities


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Name: Roger William Corman                                                                 
Born: 5 April 1926 Detroit, Michigan, U.S.                                                 
Roger William Corman (born April 5, 1926), sometimes nicknamed "King of the Bs"           
for his output of B-movies (though he himself rejects this appellation as                 
inaccurate), is a prolific American producer and director of low-budget                   
exploitation movies, many of which are some of the most influential movies made.           
He has apprenticed many now-famous directors, stressing the importance of                 
budgeting and resourcefulness; Corman once joked he could make a film about the           
fall of the Roman Empire with two extras and a sage bush.                                 
Corman was born in Detroit, Michigan, the son of Anne and William Corman, an               
engineer. He received an industrial engineering degree from Stanford                       
University. He began his career in 1953 as a producer and screenwriter, and               
began directing in 1955.                                                                   
Until his so-called "retirement" as a director in 1971 (he continued to produce           
films even after this date) he would produce up to seven movies a year; his               
fastest film was perhaps The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), which was reputedly           
shot in two days and one night (supposedly, he had made a bet that he could               
shoot an entire feature film in less than three days; another version of the               
story claims that he had a set rented for a month, and finished using it with             
three days to spare, thus pushing him to use the set to make a new film). This             
claim is disputed by others who worked on the film, who have called it part of             
Corman's own myth-building.                                                               
Corman is probably best known for his filmings of various Edgar Allan Poe                 
stories at American International Pictures, mostly in collaboration with Richard           
Matheson as screenplay writer including House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the             
Pendulum (1961), The Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962) The Raven (1963),     
The Masque of the Red Death (1964), and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). All but                 
Premature Burial starred Vincent Price. After the film version of the Raven was           
completed, he reportedly realized he still had some shooting days left before             
the sets were torn down and so made another film, The Terror (1963) on the spot           
with the remaining cast, crew and sets.                                                   
He also directed one of William Shatner's early films, The Intruder (1962).               
Based on a novel by Charles Beaumont, the film, made for approximately USD $80,000,       
has become famous for its treatment of segregation and civil rights.                       
Corman did return to the director's chair once after 1971 with Frankenstein               
Unbound (1990), although this was poorly received. In all, Roger Corman has               
produced over 300 movies and directed over 50.                                             
A number of noted film directors have worked with Corman, including Francis Ford           
Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, Donald           
G. Jackson, Gale Ann Hurd, Carl Colpaert, Joe Dante, James Cameron, John Sayles,           
Monte Hellman, Paul Barter, George Armitage, Jonathan Kaplan and Jack Hill. Many           
have said that Corman's influence taught them some of the ins and outs of                 
filmmaking.  In the extras for the DVD of The Terminator,                                 
director James Cameron refers to his work for Corman as, "I trained at the Roger           
Corman Film School." The British director Nicolas Roeg served as the                       
cinematographer on The Masque of the Red Death. Actors who obtained their career           
breaks working for Corman include Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern,                 
Michael McDonald, Dennis Hopper, Talia Shire, and Robert De Niro.                         
Many of Corman's proteges have rewarded him with cameos in their works. Hence he           
had cameo performances in such acclaimed films as The Godfather Part II and The           
Silence of the Lambs.                                                                     
His autobiography, titled How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never               
Lost a Dime, documents his experiences in the film industry.                               
In 2000, Corman was featured alongside cult filmmakers Harry Novak, Doris                 
Wishman, David F. Friedman and former collaborators, including Sam Arkoff, Dick           
Miller and Peter Bogdanovich in the documentary SCHLOCK! The Secret History of             
American Movies, a film about the rise and fall of American exploitation cinema.           
Corman was honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2005 New York City           
Horror Film Festival. Corman was the fourth recipient, joining George A. Romero,           
Tom Savini and Tobe Hooper (who had previously received the award).