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The Walking Dead comic creator Robert Kirkman has paid tribute on Twitter to Night of the Living Dead director George A. Romero, who passed away on Sunday at the age of 77.
“Without George A. Romero, there is no Walking Dead,” wrote Kirkman, who is also an executive producer on AMC’s hugely successful adaptation. “His inspiration cannot be overstated. He started it all, so many others followed.”
Two other Walking Dead executive producers, Greg Nicotero and Gale Anne Hurd, have paid tribute to Romero on social media.
“There are so many things to say about this man, my friend, my mentor and my inspiration,” wrote Nicotero on Instagram. “For what he gave us all with passion and fire, his unrelenting spirit will live forever…Never ending love to him and his family.” Nicotero worked as an assistant to special effects legend Tom Savini on Romero’s 1985 film Day of the Dead as well as appearing in the film and was makeup effects supervisor on 2005’s Land of the Dead.
“#RIPGeorgeRomero,” wrote Hurd on Twitter. “#Legend and #HorrorHero.”
Finally, Walking Dead composer Bear McCreary has tipped a hat in the direction of the late horror icon. “Love and respect to dir George Romero, without whom the Dead could not walk,” wrote McCreary on Twitter.
It has never been a secret that both the Walking Dead comic and the TV show owe a huge debt to Romero’s original zombie trilogy: 1968’s Night of the Living Dead, 1978’s Dawn of the Dead, and Day of the Dead. Prior to the show’s premiere in 2010, Nicotero told EW that Frank Darabont, who developed the series, used Night of the Living Dead as “the holy grail in terms of zombie performances.”
When this writer subsequently related that information to Romero himself, the director expressed amazement. “It’s very nice of Frank to think that away,” he said. “But it’s still hard for me to realize how influential that film was.”