Saturday 24 March 2018

Hollywood mourning deaths of Landau and Romero

Actor Martin Landau. Photo: AP
Actor Martin Landau. Photo: AP

Sam Blewett Los Angeles

Hollywood is in mourning after the deaths of Oscar-winning actor Martin Landau, at the age of 89, and horror director George A Romero, who was 77.

Landau died of "unexpected complications" on Saturday during a brief spell in a Los Angeles hospital, his publicist Dick Guttman said.

Director George A Romero. Photo: Getty
Director George A Romero. Photo: Getty

He won the best supporting actor Oscar for his portrayal of horror actor Bela Lugosi in the 1994 Tim Burton film 'Ed Wood', which also starred Johnny Depp.

Actress Patricia Arquette paid tribute to Landau as a "talented, sweet, generous" actor.

"Working with Martin Landau on 'Ed Wood' was a joy," she added.

Actor Ralph Macchio said he was a "simply wonderful" performer whose Oscar-nominated performance in Woody Allen's 'Crimes And Misdemeanours' is among his favourites.

Landau, who was born in New York, also starred in the British series 'Space: 1999' alongside his then wife, Barbara Bain. He won his first Oscar nomination for his role in Francis Ford Coppola's 1988 film 'Tucker: The Man And His Dream'.

Mr Guttman announced his death in a statement on Sunday.

"We are overcome with sadness to report the death of iconic actor Martin Landau on July 15, 2017, at 1.30pm at UCLA Medical Centre, where he succumbed to unexpected complications during a short hospitalisation," he said. "He had just celebrated his 89th birthday."

Romero died on Sunday following a battle with lung cancer, said his family in a statement. His family said he died while listening to the score of 'The Quiet Man', one of his favourite films, with his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and daughter, Tina Romero, by his side.

Romero is credited with reinventing the zombie movie with his directorial debut, the 1968 cult classic, 'Night of the Living Dead'.

The movie set the rules imitators lived by: zombies move slowly, lust for human flesh and can only be killed when shot in the head. If a zombie bites a human, the person dies and returns as a zombie.

Romero's zombies, however, were always more than mere cannibals. They were metaphors for conformity, racism, mall culture, militarism, class differences and other social ills.

Romero's death was immediately felt across a wide spectrum of horror fans and filmmakers.

Stephen King, whose 'The Dark Half' was adapted by Romero, called him his favourite collaborator and said, "There will never be another like you."

Director Guillermo del Toro called the loss "enormous".

Ten years after 'Night of the Living Dead', Romero made 'Dawn of the Dead', where survivors take refuge from the undead in a shopping mall and then turn on each other.

Irish Independent

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