Famous Independent Movie Producer, Roger Corman, Passes at 98

(PatriotWise.com) —  The low-budget “King of B-Movies,” producer/director Roger Corman died last week at the age of 98.

Corman’s daughter Catherine confirmed in a May 11 statement that her father died on May 9 in his Santa Monica home.

Catherine Corman described the Oscar-winning director and producer as “generous” and “open-hearted,” saying in her statement that her father asked to be remembered as “a filmmaker, just that.”

Corman’s career began in 1955. Over the years, he worked as a producer and director, creating hundreds of B-movies, including “Bucket of Blood,” Black Scorpion,” and “Bloody Mama,” starring Shelly Winters.

Many of the filmmakers Corman hired for his movies went on to have successful directing careers, including James Cameron, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and Ron Howard.

In the 2007 documentary “Val Lewton: The Man in the Shadows,” Corman said about the 1940s director that while low-budget films have “many constraints,” they provide “certain opportunities” that allow for creative problem solving, experimentation, and a bit of a gamble.

Corman’s low-budget films have featured such big-name stars as Ellen Burstyn, Robert De Niro, Bruce Dern, and Jack Nicholson, who made his movie debut starring in Corman’s 1958 low-budget film “The Cry Baby Killer.”

Corman first began his movie career as a Twentieth Century-Fox messenger boy before eventually moving up to story analyst. Following a brief stint reading English literature at Oxford University, Corman returned to Hollywood to begin his career as a director and producer of low-budget films.

Some of the directors who worked with Corman over the years repaid his kindness by giving him cameo appearances in their various films. The late director Jonathan Demme cast Corman in his Oscar-winning films “The Silence of the Lambs” and “Philadelphia.” Ron Howard cast Corman as a congressman in the film “Apollo 13.” Francis Ford Coppola cast Corman as a senator in “The Godfather, Part II.”

While most of Corman’s movies have been largely forgotten except by his die-hard fans, one early film, the 1960 horror comedy “The Little Shop of Horrors,” had staying power. The film was later adapted for the stage as a musical. The screen version of the musical, starring Steve Martin and Rick Moranis, premiered in 1986.

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