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FIRST EVER ZOMBIE DEAD AT 75

FIRST EVER ZOMBIE DEAD AT 75

The modern zombie as we know it first appeared in George Romero’s 1968 horror classic Night of the Living Dead. And the first zombie to lurch on screen in that film was played by actor and cinematographer Bill Hinzman.

We’re sad to report that Hinzman died of cancer this week at the age of 75. He was working as an assistant cameraman on the film when Romero decided to cast him as what would become one of the most famous zombies of all time.

Paying homage to his groundbreaking work, artist Josh Taylor created this illustration of Hinzman as a walking corpse from Night’s opening scene in a secluded Pennsylvania cemetery. On the eve of the mid-season premiere of The Walking Dead it’s important to keep in mind the people responsible for kicking off the zombie craze some forty years ago.

We’re going to miss you, Bill. But we hope you never come back!

2 comments

  1. I met Bill about 15 years ago while I was attending the Tome Savini Special Make-Up Effects Program in a little town called Monessen, right outside of Pittsburgh. I was asked by a couple of my instructors if I would like to do a Halloween make-up gig at Pitt U. The deal was that they would hold a raffle for three zombie make-ups that I would do after they showed one of the original reel-to-reel copies of Night of the Living Dead. AWESOME! Who could say to that. The bonus was that John Russo, Russ Streiner, Judith O’Dea, and yes, Bill Hinzman would be there for a Q and A before and after the screening.
    All on the panel were very nice, but Bill had this special light about him, and a gentle nature that was refreshing and exhilarating. R.I.P Bill. Glad I had the opportunity to spend a little time with you . . .

  2. I was lucky enough to work on a low budget horror movie with Bill Hinzman a while ago. I expected him to have an ego but he was kind and professional. I wish I could have known him better but everyone who I’ve talked to said he was a class act.

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