Home News ‘King of the Bs’ Roger Corman, who launched many stars’ careers, dies...

‘King of the Bs’ Roger Corman, who launched many stars’ careers, dies at age 98

Hollywood is mourning Roger Corman, an iconic an indie director whose hundreds of B-movies launched the careers of scores of actors, directors and producers who are household names to this day.

Corman, who spotted and nurtured the talent of Jack Nicholson, Robert De Niro, Ellen Burstyn and legions of other Hollywood household names, died Thursday at age 98, his family said.

Known as the “King of the Bs,” Corman created cult classics including “Little Shop of Horrors” in 1960 and “Attack of the Crab Monsters” in 1957. In addition to the actors he plucked who went on to rise to the top of their craft, Corman hired and mentored directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese. Corman received an honorary Academy Award in 2009.

His family said he died at his home in Santa Monica, Calif.

“He was generous, open-hearted and kind to all those who knew him,” his wife and daughters said in a statement. “When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, ‘I was a filmmaker, just that.’”

'King of the Bs' Roger Corman, who launched many a famed actor and director, dies at age 98

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Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman accepts his award during the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland on Nov. 14, 2009 in Hollywood, California.

Born in Detroit, Corman grew up in Beverly Hills, earning an engineering degree and serving for three years in the Navy before circling back to Hollywood. His film career began in 1955, going on to produce and direct movies such as “Black Scorpion,” “Bucket of Blood” and “Bloody Mama.” He also adapted stories by Edgar Allan Poe and relished the controversy that greeted such endeavors as 1967’s “The Trip,” starring Peter Fonda as a man tripping on acid.

Corman is survived by his film producer wife, Julie Halloran, and children Catherine, Roger, Brian and Mary.

To the Hollywood heavyweights whose careers he helped launch, Corman was much more than a filmmaker.

Actor and director Ron Howard remembered him for helping him transition from child star to multifaceted director by hiring him for his first directing job, the 1977 action comedy “Grand Theft Auto,” and for expanding opportunities for women.

“Roger not only mentored a couple of generations of high-profile filmmakers, but he also opened doors to many on the production side who were struggling to find career paths in the industry,” Howard said in a statement. “When I was working for Roger, he had far more women in positions of authority throughout his company and various movie departments than any other studio at that time.”

Among them was film and television producer Gale Anne Hurd, known these days for “The Walking Dead,” “Mankiller” and a host of other productions.

“Roger Corman was my very first boss, my lifetime mentor and my hero,” she wrote on X. “Roger was one of the greatest visionaries in the history of cinema. I am absolutely devastated by his loss and send my love and deepest condolences to the Corman family.”

Martin Scorsese long credited Corman with helping frame his approach to filming.

“The one thing I learned from Roger was total preparation,” the director said in a 2015 interview with the Film Screen Archive. “I’ve never seen anybody be so extraordinary in pacing a picture and knowing the audience that it’s for.”

Tributes poured in for Corman as news of his death traveled.

“It was my privilege to know him. He was a great friend. He shaped my childhood with science fiction movies and Edgar [Allan] Poe epics,” John Carpenter, who directed “Halloween,” “The Thing” and other classic horror and action films, wrote on X. “I’ll miss you, Roger.”

With News Wire Services


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