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George Romero’s archives headed to University of Pittsburgh

Deb Erdley
1165219_web1_RomeroHead_2
George A. Romero Collection/University of Pittsburgh Library System
A foam latex zombie head from the George A. Romero Collection that will now be housed at the University of Pittsburgh Library System.

“Oh, the horror,” many students cramming for finals at the University of Pittsburgh undoubtedly have uttered under their breaths.

Now it’s true.

Officials at Pitt on Thursday announced the University Library System has acquired the archives of the late iconic horror filmmaker George A. Romero.

Many consider Romero, a Pittsburgh filmmaker whose horror films date back to the classic 1968 film “Night of the Living Dead” the godfather of zombie cinema.

Pitt officials said the collection that soon will be accessible to scholars, students and filmmakers worldwide includes three separate archives formerly maintained by his widow Suzanne Desrocher-Romero, daughter Tina Romero and business partner Peter Grunwald.

Desrocher-Romero said they are happy to see Romero’s archives at Pitt.

“On behalf of the George Romero Estate and the George A. Romero Foundation, we are pleased that George’s archive is where it belongs — at the esteemed University of Pittsburgh University Library System and the great City of Pittsburgh,” she said in a statement announcing the decision. “We are excited to help contribute to the advancement of George’s legacy as an icon and a filmmaker.”

Romero, who died in 2017, came to Pittsburgh in the late 1950s to study graphic arts at the Carnegie Institute of Technology, which is now Carnegie Mellon University. He launched his career making commercials and shorts, including some for another iconic Pittsburgh production, Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood.

According to Pitt officials, the Romero collection that will soon be accessible includes:

• The original annotated script for the 1968 classic “Night of the Living Dead.”

• Romero’s unproduced adaptation of Edgar Allan Poe’s “Masque of the Red Death.” The script describes one scene: “Psychedelic images flash all around. Another CHEMICAL ORGY is in progress.”

• Photographs from the set of “Dawn of the Dead.”

• A foam latex zombie head.

“When my dad came to Pittsburgh as a student at Carnegie Mellon, he never would have imagined that one day the city would be known as ‘The Zombie Capital of the World,’” Tina Romero said. “I’m so excited for people to discover some of the treasures I grew up with.”

Pitt officials said the university library system will use the Romero collection as the foundation to build an international scholarly resource for the research and study of horror and science fiction.

A multimedia exhibit that is expected to be complete in 2020 will be open to the public in the third floor of the Hillman Library, Pitt officials said.

Deb Erdley is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Deb at 724-850-1209, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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