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Roger Corman, Hollywood Mentor And Actor Dies At 98

Roger Corman, Hollywood Mentor And Actor Dies At 98

Roger Corman, the “King of the Bs” who helped turn out such low-budget classics as “Little Shop of Horrors” and “Attack of the Crab Monsters” has died.

Corman died Thursday at his home in Santa Monica, California, according to a statement released Saturday by his wife and daughters. He was 98.

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

The roots of Hollywood’s golden age in the 1970s can be found in Corman’s films.

Jack Nicholson made his film debut as the title character in a 1958 Corman quickie, “The Cry Baby Killer,” and stayed with the company for biker, horror and action films, writing and producing some of them. 

Other actors whose careers began in Corman movies included Robert De Niro, Bruce Dern and Ellen Burstyn.

Peter Fonda’s appearance in “The Wild Angels” was a precursor to his own landmark biker movie, “Easy Rider,” co-starring Nicholson and fellow Corman alumnus Dennis Hopper.

Corman’s B-movie directors were given minuscule budgets and often told to finish their films in as little as five days. 

When Howard, who would go on to win a best director Oscar for “A Beautiful Mind,” pleaded for an extra half day to reshoot a scene in 1977 for “Grand Theft Auto,” Corman told him, “Ron, you can come back if you want, but nobody else will be there.”

In 2009, Corman received an honorary Academy Award.

“There are many constraints connected with working on a low budget, but at the same time there are certain opportunities,” Corman said in a 2007 documentary about Val Lewton, the 1940s director of “Cat People”.

“You can gamble a little bit more. You can experiment. You have to find a more creative way to solve a problem or to present a concept,” he said.

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