Roger Corman, Legendary B-Movie Producer, Passes Away at 98

Roger Corman, cinematic pioneer, passes at 98.

by Nouman Rasool
Roger Corman, Legendary B-Movie Producer, Passes Away at 98
© Rob Kim/Getty Images

Independent film giant Roger Corman, known as the "King of the Bs," has died at the age of 98. According to his family, Corman passed away on May 9 at his home in Santa Monica. He leaves behind a pioneering career that spanned over seven decades and left an indelible mark on the landscape of genre filmmaking.

Indeed, Corman is famous for helping shape the American independent film, directing oddities like the 1959 cult classic The Wasp Woman and behind the camera for 1960's signature Little Shop of Horrors. His take on filmmaking was both groundbreaking in the huge amount of work churned out—more than 70 films as a director and over 300 as producer—and in making shoestring-budgeted films that were visually engrossing and still managed to find an audience and turn a profit.

Corman's Cinematic Legacy

Corman's influence on the cinematic world cannot be overstated. He molded the abilities of such future Hollywood greats as Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, and James Cameron, to name only a few, and he was praised for knowing how to recognize and develop young talent and christened "The Pope of Pop Cinema" in the process.

This year also brought the news of Corman collaborating with Joe Dante and Brad Krevoy on "Little Ship of Halloween Horrors," the remake of his own "Little Shop of Horrors" to prove that he had still not lost the zest of filmmaking and creativity.

His innovativeness could be seen in resource optimization when he shot "A Bucket of Blood" first so he could shoot on the sets for "Little Shop of Horrors.". Corman's influence on cinema was not simply found in his films; he'd been the youngest director ever given a retrospective at the prestigious Cinematheque Francaise.

His influence was literally worldwide and underscored by Lifetime Achievement Awards at over 40 film festivals, to say nothing of the 2009 Honorary Oscar which he, apparently belatedly, received that year, which officially put him in the pantheon of independent filmmakers.

Reflecting on his legacy, Catherine Corman shared that her father wanted to be remembered simply as "a filmmaker." Yet, for many, Roger Corman was more than that—a visionary who democratized filmmaking and brought to life some of the most enduring tales of the silver screen.

He may be part of the passing of an era, but his films and generations of filmmakers that he inspired will continue to echo his pioneering spirit.