Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman following the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14.

Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman following the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Credit/Provider: ©A.M.P.A.S.
Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.

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  • Filmmaker and producer Roger Corman has died.
  • He was 98.
  • He’ll be remembered for movies such as ‘Little Shop of Horrors’ and ‘Boxcar Bertha’ and many more.

Roger Corman, who became famous –– and sometimes infamous –– for his B-movie output and championing of other filmmakers, died on May 9th aged 98.

Corman was known for opening doors to many others through his work and movies, and while he didn’t win Oscars or see huge box office with his films, he had a huge impact on cinema and pop culture.

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Roger Corman: Early Life and Career

Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman attends the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14.

Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman attends the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Credit/Provider: Michael Yada / ©A.M.P.A.S. Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.

Born in Detroit, Corman moved with his family in 1940 to Los Angeles. He attended Beverly Hills High School and then Stanford, majoring in engineering. He admitted to being infatuated by movies from the time he came to California.

Yet if he had dreams of entering the movie world as soon as possible, he was stymied by military service and education elsewhere, including at Oxford in England. The early 1950s saw him working odd jobs and collecting unemployment and that period led to a renewed spark in his chosen career: while working as a script reader, he figured he could do better, sitting down to write ‘Highway Dragnet’ and selling the screenplay to Allied Artists for $4,000.

That, plus cash scrounged up from family and friends saw him launch his time as a producer, bringing ‘The Monster From the Ocean Floor’ to screens.

Monster from the Ocean Floor

Monster from the Ocean Floor

"Terror StrikesFrom Beneath the Sea"
Not Yet Rated1 hr 4 minMay 21st, 1954

He joined forces with Sam Arkoff of American International Pictures and between 1955-60 Corman produced or directed more than 30 films for AIP, all budgeted at less than $100,000 and produced in two weeks or less. They included Westerns (‘Five Guns West,’ ‘Gunslinger’); horror and science fiction (‘Day the World Ended,’ ‘The Undead’); as well as teen movies such as ‘Carnival Rock’ and ‘Rock All Night.’

Roger Corman as Director

Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman during the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14.

Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman during the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Credit/Provider: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S. Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.

While producing, Corman also wrote and directed movies of his own, including ‘Frankenstein Unbound’, ‘Battle Beyond the Stars’, ‘Deathsport’, ‘The Trip’, and even an effort for a major studio, with Columbia’s ‘The Wild Angels’.

Yet it was in the B-movie world that Corman truly flourished, spinning low budgets into small hits and churning out content, including a run of Edgar Allen Poe adaptations.

The Wild Angels

The Wild Angels

"The most terrifying film of your time"
56
R1 hr 27 minJul 20th, 1966

Roger Corman: Other Careers Launched

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Board of Governors posed for a group photo following the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Pictured here following the ceremony (L to R) Oscar¨-winning director Jonathan Demme, two time Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, director Allan Arkush, Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman, director Joe Dante and Oscar-winning writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Credit/Provider: Todd Wawrychuk / ©A.M.P.A.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science's Board of Governors posed for a group photo following the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Pictured here following the ceremony (L to R) Oscar¨-winning director Jonathan Demme, two time Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, director Allan Arkush, Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman, director Joe Dante and Oscar-winning writer/director Quentin Tarantino. Credit/Provider: Todd Wawrychuk / ©A.M.P.A.S. Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.

Corman certainly had an eye for talent; among the people whose careers he helped nurture are the likes of Ellen Burstyn, Jack Nicholson and Robert De Niro, screenwriters such as Robert Towne and directors like Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante and Peter Bogdanovich their starts.

He also backed arthouse films from around the world, including work by the likes of Ingrid Bergman and Werner Herzog. He reinvented their marketing and distribution, booking them in a wider variety of venues and giving audiences outsides the major cities a taste of world cinema they had not previously enjoyed.

Roger Corman Dies: Family’s Statement

Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman (left), Honorary Award recipient Lauren Bacall (center) and Honorary Award recipient Gordon Willis (right) with producer Bruce Cohen following the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14.

(L to R) Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman (left), Honorary Award recipient Lauren Bacall (center) and Honorary Award recipient Gordon Willis (right) with producer Bruce Cohen following the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Credit/Provider: Richard Harbaugh / ©A.M.P.A.S. Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.

Corman’s family released the following statement:

“His films were revolutionary and iconoclastic, and captured the spirit of an age. When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, ‘I was a filmmaker, just that.’”

Two time Oscar¨-winning director Ron Howard toasts Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman during the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14.

(L to R) Two time Oscar¨-winning director Ron Howard toasts Honorary Award recipient Roger Corman during the 2009 Governors Awards in the Grand Ballroom at Hollywood & Highland in Hollywood, CA, Saturday, November 14. Credit/Provider: Matt Petit / ©A.M.P.A.S. Copyright: ©A.M.P.A.S.

Roger Corman Movies:

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