Dubbed”The King of the Cult Film” or “The Pope of Pop Cinema”, American independent film producer, director, and actor Roger William Corman was born on this date, April 5, 1926 in Detroit.
Known as a trailblazer in the world of independent film, Corman was originally schooled to follow his father as an engineer. Attending Standford, he graduated with a degree in industrial engineering in 1947. His career in engineering lasted only four days. More interested in film, Corman found work at 20th Century Fox where he worked his way up to story analyst.
When a movie for which Corman offered ideas did not earn him credits, he quit Fox to launch his own film career. Scraping together a little seed capital, he set himself up as a producer, turning out Monster from the Ocean Floor (1954). His next picture, The Fast and the Furious (1955) earned him a multi-picture deal with a fledgling company called American Releasing Corp. (ARC), later to change its name to American-International Pictures (AIP). In the coming years, with Corman behind the camera, AIP would become the one of the most successful independent studios in cinema history.
Admired by members of the French New Wave and Cahiers du cinéma, in 1964 Corman was the youngest filmmaker to have a retrospective at the Cinémathèque Française, as well as the British Film Institute and the Museum of Modern Art.
Corman mentored and gave a start to many young film directors such as Francis Ford Coppola, Ron Howard, Martin Scorsese and James Cameron. He also helped to launch the careers of actors Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson..
In 1998, he won the first Producer’s Award ever given by the Cannes Film Festival.
In 2006, Corman received the David O. Selznick Award from the Producers Guild of America. Also in 2006, his film Fall of the House of Usher was among the twenty-five movies selected for the National Film Registry, a compilation of significant films being preserved by the Library of Congress.
In 2010, The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Corman with an Academy Honorary Award at the inaugural Governors Awards, on November 14, 2009.
In 2010, writer and actor Mark Gatiss interviewed Corman for his BBC documentary series A History of Horror, of which the second half of the second episode focuses on Corman.
In 2010, Corman was inducted into the Beverly Hills High School Hall of Fame.
In 2012, Corman was honored with the Filmmaker on the Edge Award at the Provincetown International Film Festival.
Roger Corman is an important page from M(ichigan) M(ovie) H(istory) A Michigan original, he is 90 years old today.
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