Roger Corman, Legendary Filmmaker and 'King of the Bs,' Dies at 98

Roger Corman, the "King of the Bs" filmmaker, died at 98, leaving behind a legacy of over 400 low-budget cult classics and launching the careers of numerous Hollywood luminaries. Corman's impact on the film industry is immeasurable, having worked with actors and filmmakers like Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron.

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Aqsa Younas Rana
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Roger Corman, Legendary Filmmaker and 'King of the Bs,' Dies at 98

Roger Corman, Legendary Filmmaker and 'King of the Bs,' Dies at 98

Roger Corman, the prolific filmmaker known as the "King of the Bs" for his low-budget cult classics, passed away on Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, California. He was 98 years old. Corman's legacy extends far beyond his hundreds of films, as he played a crucial role in launched, careers of numerous Hollywood luminaries.

Over his seven-decade career, Corman produced and directed more than 400 films, including titles such as "The Little Shop of Horrors," "Death Race 2000," and "The Masque of the Red Death." Despite their modest budgets, Corman's movies often pushed boundaries and captured the zeitgeist of their eras. "I was a filmmaker, just that," Corman once said when asked how he would like to be remembered.

Corman's impact on the film industry is immeasurable, as he gave early opportunities to countless actors and filmmakers who went on to become major figures in Hollywood. Among those who worked with Corman early in their careers are Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Martin Scorsese, Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, and James Cameron.

Born Roger William Corman on April 5, 1926, in Detroit, Michigan, Corman developed a love for cinema at a young age. After serving in the Navy during World War II, he studied industrial engineering at Stanford University. However, his passion for film led him to a job as a messenger at 20th Century Fox, where he eventually worked his way up to story reader.

In the 1950s, Corman began producing and directing films for American International Pictures (AIP), churning out dozens of low-budget movies that capitalized on the era's fascination with science fiction, horror, and youth culture. He often completed films in a matter of days, with budgets as low as $50,000. Despite these constraints, Corman's films showcased his creativity and willingness to take risks.

Corman's influence extended beyond his own films, as he helped introduce foreign art house cinema to American audiences through his distribution company, New World Pictures. He released films by acclaimed directors such as Ingmar Bergman, Federico Fellini, and Akira Kurosawa, exposing a new generation to international cinema.

In 2009, Corman received an Honorary Academy Award for his contributions to the film industry. The award recognized not only his own work but also his role as a mentor and champion of emerging talent. "Roger Corman was able to nurture other talent in a way that was never envious or difficult but always generous," Martin Scorsese said in a tribute to Corman.

Roger Corman's passing marks the end of an era in Hollywood, but his legacy will endure through the countless filmmakers he inspired and the indelible mark he left on cinema. He is survived by his wife Julie, four children, and grandchildren. "He was generous, open-hearted and kind to all those who knew him," his daughter Catherine Corman said in a statement. The film industry has lost a true pioneer, but Corman's spirit will live on through the generations of artists he nurtured and the movies he made.

Key Takeaways

  • Roger Corman, "King of the Bs," dies at 98 in Santa Monica, California.
  • Corman produced/directed over 400 films, including cult classics like "The Little Shop of Horrors."
  • He launched careers of Hollywood luminaries like Jack Nicholson, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron.
  • Corman's films often pushed boundaries and captured the zeitgeist of their eras despite modest budgets.
  • He received an Honorary Academy Award in 2009 for his contributions to the film industry.