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George A. Romero’s First Zombie, Bill Hinzman, Passes Away

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It may be hard to believe considering how much zombies are a part of entertainment culture these days but they weren’t a dime a dozen back in 1968 when George A. Romero debuted Night of the Living Dead. So when actor Bill Hinzman shuffled on screen, it left quite an impression. Unfortunately, horror fans are mourning his passing today.

Hinzman played “Zombie #1” or “Graveyard Zombie” in Night of the Living Dead, a role that would go down in movie history. He also went on to star in several other horror features like Legion of the Night and Hungry Wives, as well as directing his own film Flesh Eater.

The actor was also a mainstay and favorite guest at horror conventions around the world and was happy to pose menacingly for photos. The folks at Dread Central wrote had met Hinzman many times. “Bill was always there with a smile for fans, often appearing in costume as the famed ghoul we all grew up with,” they wrote. “We’ve lost another icon of the industry and more importantly one of the nicest and most genuine people we’ve ever had the chance of knowing.”

Hinzman lost his battle with cancer over the weekend at the age of 75. Take a look at his famous scene.

(via Blastr)

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Jill Pantozzi is a pop-culture journalist and host who writes about all things nerdy and beyond! She’s Editor in Chief of the geek girl culture site The Mary Sue (Abrams Media Network), and hosts her own blog “Has Boobs, Reads Comics” (TheNerdyBird.com). She co-hosts the Crazy Sexy Geeks podcast along with superhero historian Alan Kistler, contributed to a book of essays titled “Chicks Read Comics,” (Mad Norwegian Press) and had her first comic book story in the IDW anthology, “Womanthology.” In 2012, she was featured on National Geographic’s "Comic Store Heroes," a documentary on the lives of comic book fans and the following year she was one of many Batman fans profiled in the documentary, "Legends of the Knight."