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Stephen King, James Gunn, Jordan Peele & More Pay Tribute to George Romero

ETOnline logo ETOnline 3 days ago Zach Seemayer
© Provided by ETOnline

On Sunday, horror movie icon George A. Romero died after a battle with lung cancer, surrounded by his family.

Now, With his creative flame extinguished, many of his friends, colleagues and admirers are paying tribute to the beloved director, and sharing the ways in which his career and legacy impacted their own lives.

Horror author Stephen King -- who worked with Romero several times over the years, including their collaboration on the cult classic Creepshow in 1982 and The Dark Half in 1993 -- took to Twitter to share a few words of love for his friend.

"Sad to hear my favorite collaborator--and good old friend--George Romero has died," King wrote. "George, there will never be another like you."

In 1968, Romero released the revolutionary horror film Night of the Living Dead. Aside from essentially launching the mega-popular zombie film genre, the black-and-white classic was notable for featuring Duane Jones, a black actor, as the main protagonist of the story.

At the time, it was incredibly uncommon for a black actor to play the hero in U.S. cinema, especially as the lead of an otherwise all-white cast. Romero said at the time that Jones was simply the best choice and actor for the role.

Comedian and director Jordan Peele -- who recently became the first black writer-director to have a debut project break the $100 million (C$126M) mark at the box office with his horror thriller, Get Out -- paid tribute to Romero and his landmark casting choice.

"Romero started it," Peele tweeted, alongside a photo of Jones from Night of the Living Dead.Β 

Guardians of the Galaxy director James Gunn took to Facebook to share a lengthy message thanking Romero for creating films that changed the way Gunn thought of movies and Hollywood when he was young.

"Seeing Night of the Living Dead as a child not only scared the living hell out of me, and made me forever jump at creepy children, but it was so incredibly DIY I realized movies were not something that belonged solely to the elites with multiple millions of dollars but could also be created by US, the people who simply loved them, who lived in Missouri, as I did, or Pennsylvania, as you did, or anywhere," Gunn wrote.

"I picked up an eight millimeter camera, mixed some Karo syrup with some red food dye to make blood, and began making movies - specifically, having my one brother eat my other brother onscreen, alive. I was eleven. That was the first moment of my film career, and it was spurned on because of you," he added. "Thank you, George, for being a part of my life for a long, long time, in so many different ways. Rest in Peace."

Baby Driver director Edgar Wright -- whose breakthrough directorial debut, Shaun of the Dead, was both influenced by and a loving homage to Romero's classic works -- penned a heartfelt tribute on his website honouring the beloved filmmaker's memory.

"It's fair to say that without George A. Romero, I would not have the career I have now. A lot of people owe George a huge debt of gratitude for the inspiration. I am just one of many," Wright wrote. "I had been infatuated about George's work before I saw it, scouring through horror and fantasy magazine for stills, posters and articles way before I was old enough to see his movies. When I finally did watch, on VHS or late night TV, the likes of Night Of The Living Dead, Martin, Dawn Of The Dead, Creepshow, Day Of The Dead and others, I was a true devotee to all things Romero."

According to Wright, he managed to screen Shaun of the Dead for Romero before it came out in theaters, so that the horror master could see how he was being honoured, and to get his feedback.

"Universal contacted George and screened the movie for him while he was on vacation in Florida," he recalled. "Later that night, George called us in London. I remember standing in my flat in Islington when I got the call from him and he couldn't have been warmer and kinder about the movie. I remember him saying that it was 'an absolute blast'. That indeed became the sole poster quote for the movie in the United States. I frequently think back to this moment of standing in my house as the moment my life truly changed and the world got smaller."

Wright's touching tribute, and stories about his relationship with the late director, can be read in full on his website.

Check out more tributes, memorials and memories below.

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