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Roger Corman, the ‘king of cult cinema’, dies at 98

May 12th, 2024

Roger Corman, the legendary B-movie director who was dubbed the ‘king of cult cinema’, has died at the age of 98.

His family confirmed to Variety yesterday that he passed away on Thursday (May 9) at his home in Santa Monica, California, surrounded by family presenters.

Corman was seen as a trailblazer in the world of independent film, producing and directing hundreds of low-budget movies and giving an early platform to leading figures in the industry, including Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro.

“His films were revolutionary and iconoclastic, and captured the spirit of an age. When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, ‘I was a filmmaker, just that,’” the family said in a statement.

Known variously as ‘The Pope of Pop Cinema’ and ‘The Spiritual Godfather of the New Hollywood’, he made his name in the 1960s, creating his own studios New World Pictures and New Concorde, and was awarded an Honorary Academy Award in 2009 for his “rich engendering of films and filmmakers”.

Roger Corman presents The Grand Prix Award at the 76th Cannes film festival on May 27, 2023. (Photo by Andreas Rentz/Getty Images)

His own films were often made quickly with low budgets and specialised in genres such as horror, science fiction and action.

Several major names received early credits in Corman’s work, including Nicholson in The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), Scorsese with Boxcar Bertha (1972), Cameron with Battle Beyond the Stars (1980) and Ron Howard with Grand Theft Auto (1977).

Howard himself joked that Corman told him during the tumultuous making of his first film Eat My Dust that “if you do a good job on this film, you won’t ever have to work for me again!”

Tributes have come in for Corman, with director John Carpenter writing on X: “Roger Corman, one of the most influential movie directors in my life, has passed away. It was my privilege to know him. He was a great friend. He shaped my childhood with science fiction movies and Edgar Allen Poe epics. I’ll miss you, Roger.”

Howard said: “RIP Roger Corman. A great movie maker and mentor. When I was 23 he gave me my 1st shot at directing. He launched many careers & quietly lead our industry in important ways. He remained sharp, interested and active even at 98. Grateful to have known him.”

See other tributes below:

Quentin Tarantino has paid his own tribute to Corman, saying “the movie lovers of planet Earth thank you”, while The Silence of the Lambs director Jonathan Demme said Corman provided “tremendous value at a really affordable price”.

Corman is survived by his wife Julie Corman and his daughters Catherine and Mary.

This content was originally sourced and posted at NME »
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