George Romero passed away yesterday, due to lung cancer. He was 77 years old.
In 1968, George Romero directed the film “Night of the Living Dead.” His film quickly became a classic and is credited for launching the zombie genre into the mainstream.
The movie also featured an African-American man in a leading role and portrayed him as a hero. Ben (played by Duane Jones) was resourceful and level headed, unlike several other characters in the film.
George Romero decided to cast Duane Jones as Ben, because he displayed great skill and was the best actor for the role. George Romero was willing to go against cultural norms, placing a non-white actor in a leading role and as a hero, was simply not done in the late 1960’s.
In many ways, George Romero was way ahead of his time.