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Cinema’s first modern zombie, Bill Hinzman, dies aged 75

February 7th, 2012 by Marc Comments

Night of the Living Dead’.. We all remember the opening scene… the man and woman, the graveyard, the shuffling man in the background, always getting closer.. ‘They’re coming to get you Barbera!’. But as the man draws closer something is wrong, he’s not right… and boom! The first zombie from zombie-god George Romero is forever scarred into our memories.

That zombie was played by actor Bill Hinzman who has sadly died aged 75.
Hinzman was working as an assistant cameraman on the 1968 movie, when Romero asked him off-the-cuff to play the zombie – possibly explaining why his hair was just so darn perfect in the scene! By the way, the brother and sister he attacks were played byJudith O’Dea and Russell Streiner fact fans!.

‘Night of the Living Dead’ is a stone-cold classic – a low budget but utterly terrifying film that revolutionized the zombie genre.
Hinzman’s shuffling monster was arguably the first modern zombie we’ve seen onscreen, as the film introduced the idea of zombies as re-animated flesh-eaters, says Yahoo!

Hinzman reportedly died after a long battle with cancer. His daughter Heidi Hinzman told Dread Central that he asked to be cremated because, “he always joked if he got buried he would come back”.

Hinzman also worked with Romero on: ‘There’s Always Vanilla’ and ‘The Crazies’. He also directed ‘The Majorettes’ and cult classic ‘Flesh Eater’.

Simon Pegg tweeted earlier: Sad to hear Bill Hinzman, George Romero’s first zombie in NotLD passed away today. Even zombies die, legends however, do not. RIP Bill.


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Marc is a self-confessed nerd. Ever since seeing Star Wars for the first time around 1979 he’s been an unapologetic fan of the Wars and still believes, with Clone Wars and now Underworld, we are yet to see the best Star Wars. He’s a dad of two who now doesn’t have the time (or money) to collect the amount of toys, comics, movies and books he once did, much to the relief of his long-suffering wife. In the real world he’s a graphic designer. He started Following the Nerd because he was tired of searching a million sites every day for all the best news that he loves and decided to create one place where you can go to get the whole lot. Secretly he longs to be sitting in the cockpit of his YT-1300 Corellian Transport ship with his co-pilot Chewie, roaming the universe, waiting for his next big adventure, but feels just at home watching cartoons with his kids….