Roger Corman, US B-movie pioneer and 'godfather' of New American Cinema, dies aged 98

Roger Corman, the US film producer and director who pioneered the low-budget movie genre and mentored generations of New American Cinema filmmakers, has died aged 98.

Schlocky titles, influential career

Best known as a producer, Corman directed more than 50 films, but he will be remembered as an influential godfather-like figure to the New American Cinema of the 1970s. He was a major beneficiary of Corman's mentorship and patronage included Martin Scorsese, Peter Bogdanovich, Francis Ford Coppola, Monte Hellman, and Jonathan Demme.

'Genial godfather'

Corman's willingness to give opportunities to new filmmakers, combined with his prolific output and seeming authenticity, led to him being described as the 'genial godfather' of New American Cinema. He was also remembered for his cameo roles in over 30 films, including as an FBI director in Demme's The Silence of the Lambs (1991) and as a senator in Coppola's The Godfather Part II (1974).

Three phases of filmmaking

Corman's filmography as a director can be roughly divided into three groups: the quickies (1955-1960), the adaptations of the works of Edgar Allan Poe (1960-1964), and the mainstream experiments (1966-1970). He retired from directing after the commercial failure of The Red Baron (1971).

Legacy

In 1970, Corman set up his own company, New World Pictures, continuing to produce formula films for the youth market, such as motorcycle movies, sexploitation flicks, and horror films. He retired from producing in the late 1990s. In 2009, he received a lifetime achievement Academy Award. He is survived by his wife, Julie Halloran, a film producer, whom he married in 1970, and their four children, Roger, Brian, Mary, and Catherine.