George Romero, director of Night of the Living Dead and its sequels, sadly passed away in July of this year. In researching a different topic related to Romero, I stumbled across a short but informative interview with the director that appeared in SFGate in 2010.
In this interview, Romero discusses getting his start in filmmaking, working for Fred Rogers of Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood fame.
Romero describes Mr. Rogers as “the sweetest man [he] ever knew,” and the first person who ever trusted him to shoot film. According to Romero, most anyone working in film in Pittsburgh got their start with Mr. Rogers.
Remarkably, according to Romero, Mr. Rogers had seen both Night of the Living Dead and Dawn of the Dead and enjoyed them both. On Dawn of the Dead Mr. Rogers remarked: “It’s a lot of fun, George.”
But, most mind-blowing to me was the revelation that Romero had originally wanted to cast Betty Aberlin (“Lady Aberlin” from Mr. Rogers’ Neighborhood—MAJOR childhood crush) as the lead in Night of the Living Dead. Unfortunately, Mr. Rogers was not keen on the idea.
According to Romero, “he wouldn’t let me use Lady Aberlin.”
More after the jump…