1968’s Night of the Living Dead was Romero’s first film, focusing on five people hiding out in a farmhouse from wandering flesh-eating undead – who were never called zombies. According to Wikipedia, it was originally planned as a horror comedy, but it was criticized upon its release for its heavy gore, which included shots of the undead eating people, and of the lead character being shot in the head when he is mistaken for a zombie. The movie was made for just over $100,000 and earned an estimated $30 million worldwide.
In 2009, Spike TV honored Romero with a Mastermind Award at its Scream Awards, dedicated to horror, sci-fi and fantasy films.
Romero’s longtime producing partner, Peter Grunwald, told the Times that Romero died with his family by his side, while listening to the score of one of his favorite films, The Quiet Man.