William Shatner, John Carpenter And More Pay Tribute To Filmmaker Roger Corman After His Death At 98

 Roger Corman on Conan.
Roger Corman on Conan.

It’s a sad reality that every so often, the filmmaking community loses one of its own and, this past week, it lost an absolute giant within the industry. Roger Corman – the acclaimed director and producer – passed away at the tender age of 98. The show business legend was highly regarded for his work within the independent film space and for being instrumental in cultivating the careers of some of cinema’s greatest directors. Admirers have since taken to social media to send well wishes and honor the late Corman. A plethora of big names are doing that as well, including William Shatner and John Carpenter.

William Shatner has a lengthy filmography filled with plenty of titles not related to Star Trek. One of those entries is the 1962 drama The Intruder, which was produced and directed by Roger Corman, who died on Thursday at his Santa Monica home per THR. Shatner referenced his collaboration with the late Corman while sharing a sweet tribute to him on X (formerly known as Twitter):

I am saddened to learn of Roger Corman’s passing. He was a wonderful director/producer and I count myself lucky to have been able to work with him. 😔

Born in Detroit, Michigan in 1926, the late filmmaker began his career in the mailroom at 20th Century Fox. After dabbling in on-stage work and screenwriting, he eventually produced his first movie, 1954’s Monster from the Ocean Floor and followed that up with the 1955 thriller The Fast and the Furious. (The title of the latter would be licensed off for the contemporary FF film series decades later.) The Highway Dragnet scribe would eventually move into theatrical distribution, through which he would open the floodgates for movies from acclaimed foreign directors to reach the states. While reflecting on his work, John Carpenter – whose films are revered – discussed on X just how the producer impacted him:

Roger Corman, one of the most influential movie directors in my life, has passed away. It was my privilege to know him.He was a great friend. He shaped my childhood with science fiction movies and Edgar Allen Poe epics. I'll miss you, Roger.

What many tend to remember the Filmgroup co-founder for is the way in which he invested in directors. Jonathan Demme, Francis Ford Coppola, James Cameron and Martin Scorsese are just a few of the esteemed individuals who benefited from his generosity. Ron Howard is another person who owes a portion of his career to the late auteur. The Apollo 13 helmer also used X as his forum to reflect on his relationship with his former colleague:

RIP Roger Corman. A great movie maker and mentor. When I was 23 he gave me my 1st shot at directing. He launched many careers & quietly lead our industry in important ways. He remained sharp, interested and active even at 98. Grateful to have known him.

Famously known as the king of the b-movie, Corman, who also acted in movies, directed 55 films between the 1950s and the 2000s. He helmed science fiction and horror fare like The Little Shop of Horrors (1960) and It Conquered the World (1956) as well as dramas like I Mobster (1959) and The Wild Angels (1966). Corman also had a few westerns to his name, including Five Guns West (1955) and The Oklahoma Woman (1956). He also carved out a niche for himself by adapting Edgar Alan Poe’s work. Robert Rodriguez, who’s directed great films himself, shared via X what he learned from Corman:

[Roger Corman] was a huge inspiration as both a filmmaker and businessman. Creating your own IP at your own studio while inspiring other filmmakers was a lesson so many of my generation learned from him. In 2018, it was an honor to screen and discuss with Roger my favorite of his directed films: ROCK ALL NIGHT.

Few would deny the sheer impact that Roger Corman had on the medium that is film. The moviemaking community as a whole owes him a great deal of gratitude for the doors that he opened, and the mark he leaves on Hollywood is indelible. It’s certainly sad that he’s no longer with us but, through his work, and the memories that these stars and more have shared, he’ll surely never be forgotten. And we here at CinemaBlend extend our deepest condolences to Corman’s family, friends and loved ones during this time.