Remembering George A. Romero by Jon Condit

The first time I met George Romero was almost 15 years ago thanks to Chris Roe who I was working with to redo George’s website at the time. It was at Chiller in the bar and I was showing George the new animation I made for the site logo. It was a shambling zombie and as it walked along, revealed his name behind it. George loved it and the way his face lit up when he saw it was incredible to see being that I had literally grown up loving his films.

He bought me a drink and kept talking about how much he loved the animation. It was such a simple thing I thought but to have him tell me how much he enjoyed it was one of the high points of my career. It still makes me smile to think about it, if only with a heavier heart today.

As lame as it might sound I kept the glass. It was too much for me that one of my favorite film makers not only liked my work but wanted to buy me a drink to say thank you. Sadly TSA crushed my bag on the flight home and the cup was broken in two. I still kept it for years and now it’s in a box somewhere with other keepsakes. When one of your heroes buys you a drink that is a good day.

The first film our group of friends (Todd, Buz, Shane, and Steve) would complete together would be Deadhydrated, a short zombie film that we dedicated to George and that dedication still stands more now than possibly ever:

A very special thanks to George Romero for letting us play in his backyard.

He made movies on his own terms. Gary Klar and I once had a long chat about how similar George was to the heroic characters of Any Rand’s fiction. He stood for his art and his vision in a way that few film makers ever do. We spent an hour so so talking about how to make a version of Atlas Shrugged with a film maker instead of an industrialist as the lead character.

I never got to know George as well as my partner Steve Barton did. But through their friendship I got brief glances into who George was as a person not just as the film maker I looked up to. I am lucky to call several of the Living Dead family my friends actually, and they all will tell you the same. George treated everyone like family and was a warm and genuine soul.

I can’t summon the eloquence his memory is due. He inspired so many of us and will be remembered as one of the greatest film makers of our time, or possibly any time for that matter. Anything I can say pales in comparison to what he brought to so many.

Rest in peace George. Thank you more than I can ever say for the years of hard work and sacrifice you endured to share with us your dreams. The only consolation to me is knowing that your work inspired so many and will continue to do so.

– Jon Condit

George A. Romero

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