Remembering Roger Corman (April 5, 1926 – May 9, 2024)

By Steve Vertlieb: Roger Corman, the legendary motion picture producer/director has succumbed at age 98. His status as a film pioneer is undeniable.

From humble beginnings, Corman virtually re-invented the traditional horror genre in the 1950’s and 60’s with reimagined cinematic translations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe, featuring such classic actors as Vincent Price, Boris Karloff, Basil Rathbone, Ray Milland, and Peter Lorre, while discovering and virtually creating the careers of Jack Nicholson, and Peter Fonda.

Vincent Price, in particular, found his career newly flourishing as a result of his frequent collaborations with Corman, while other stars such as Jack Nicholson were nurtured and encouraged by the director, finding new prominence in their early screen careers.

Roger Corman remains an essential component in film history, having launched the careers of such prominent film makers as Francis Ford Coppola, Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, Bruce Dern, Joe Dante, Ellen Burstyn, Robert De Niro, Robert Towne, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron, Ron Howard, and Peter Bogdanovich, as well as creating his own enduring imprint as a major influence in the development and cultural respectability of the horror/science fiction/fantasy genre over the past sixty five “odd” years.

More importantly, however, he was a genuinely bright, thoughtful, gracious soul whose celebrity never diminished his kindness toward others.

The man will be missed … but his artistry and legacy remain eternal.

Roger Corman and Steve Vertlieb.

Here are the posters for some of his films.

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6 thoughts on “Remembering Roger Corman (April 5, 1926 – May 9, 2024)

  1. My favorite film of his is The Intruder. Starring a pre-Star Trek William Shatner.

    Supporting cast includes Charles Beaumont, William F Nolan, & George Clayton Johnson. With some voicework by June Forey.

  2. I’ve always thought Corman’s “The Masque of the Red Death” would make a great double feature with Bergman’s “The Seventh Seal.” Perhaps a revival house will try it someday.

  3. Corman was an interesting figure. Unlike Ed Wood who didn’t have a shred of talent, Corman did. He just had no budget, and quite frankly, I think he was a bit lazy, with an attitude of “that’s good enough.” What he did have was an incredible eye for discovering new talent. Besides all those mentioned above, he gave Robert Vaughn an early film starring role, and gave Ron Howard his first chance to direct a movie (for which Howard repaid him by giving him a cameo in “Apollo 13.”).

  4. He was one of my top favourite horror movie directors. He will be missed. May he R.I.P.

  5. Mm re the sad passing of Roger Corman, his retention of the then (only) 16mm print of THE WICKER MAN (UK : 1973) and sent to him to see if he could “improve” it, proved very useful when the cult of this movie emerged later. The original master 35mm neg appears to have been controversially lost or destroyed (or whatever) and only a good copy of the Mark I (Theatrical Cut : 2 days / 1 night, in the story) print was available. His copy, usually called the Mark II (3 nights/2 days) was later used to splice into the Mark I to produce either the Final Cut or the Directors Cut, later issued and up graded as far as possible on Blue Ray, by the copyright owners (Studio Canal Plus). His contribution to movie making remains his lasting legacy. RIP.

  6. Great words for a great talent. He nurtured so much talent who brought colour to the world even when he himself was limited to black and white budgets.

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