Roger Corman, Hollywood mentor and legendary B-movie filmmaker, passes away at age 98

Roger Corman: The King of Low-Budget Cinema

Roger Corman: The King of Low-Budget Cinema

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Roger Corman, the “King of the Bs” who helped turn out such low-budget classics as “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Attack of the Crab Monsters” and gave many of Hollywood’s most famous actors and directors early breaks, has died. He was 98. Corman died Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, California, according to a statement released Saturday by his wife and daughters.

The Legacy of Roger Corman

Starting in 1955, Corman helped create hundreds of B-movies as a producer and director, among them “Black Scorpion,” “Bucket of Blood” and “Bloody Mama.” A remarkable judge of talent, he hired such aspiring filmmakers as Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. In 2009, Corman received an honorary Academy Award.

The Influence on Hollywood

The roots of Hollywood’s golden age in the 1970s can be found in Corman’s films. Jack Nicholson made his film debut as the title character in a 1958 Corman quickie, “The Cry Baby Killer,” and stayed with the company for biker, horror, and action films, writing and producing some of them. Other actors whose careers began in Corman movies included Robert De Niro, Bruce Dern, and Ellen Burstyn.

The Corman Style

Corman’s B-movie directors were given minuscule budgets and often told to finish their films in as little as five days. When Howard, who would go on to win a best director Oscar for “A Beautiful Mind,” pleaded for an extra half day to reshoot a scene in 1977 for “Grand Theft Auto,” Corman told him, “Ron, you can come back if you want, but nobody else will be there.”

Breaking Boundaries

Corman’s pictures were open for their time about sex and drugs, such as his 1967 release “The Trip,” an explicit story about LSD written by Nicholson and starring Fonda and Hopper. Meanwhile, he discovered a lucrative sideline releasing prestige foreign films in the United States, among them Ingmar Bergman’s “Cries and Whispers,” Federico Fellini’s “Amarcord” and Volker Schlondorff’s “The Tin Drum.”

The Poe Series

In 1963, Corman initiated a series of films based on the works of Edgar Allan Poe. The most notable was “The Raven,” which teamed Nicholson with veteran horror stars Boris Karloff, Peter Lorre, and Basil Rathbone. Directed by Corman on a rare three-week schedule, the horror spoof won good reviews, a rarity for his films.

Remembering a Legend

“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,” John Carpenter, director of “Halloween,” “The Thing” and other classic horror and action films, said. “I’ll miss you, Roger.”

Roger William Corman was born in Detroit and raised in Beverly Hills, but “not in the affluent section,” he once said. He attended Stanford University, earning a degree in engineering, and arrived in Hollywood after three years in the Navy.

Read More of this Story at – 2024-05-12 05:16:00

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