While only the true hardcore zombie fans know his name, it’s safe to say even casual fans of the genre know his face and his place in zombie movie history. Bill Hinzman, the man who first shuffled his way on screen as they very first flesh eater in George A. Romero‘s original 1968 Night of the Living Dead, passed away over the weekend at the age of 75.
Lovingly remembered as the Graveyard Zombie, Hinzman locked his place in the cinema of the undead when he staggered on screen towards brother and sister Barbara and Johnny, maintained it by further work with Romero on movies like There’s Always Vanilla, Season of the Witch and The Crazies and secured his legend by being a fixture of the convention circuit. As Dread Central puts it, “Bill was always there with a smile for fans, often appearing in costume as the famed ghoul we all grew up with.”
Nerd Bastards would like to offer our sincerest condolences to the friends and family of Mr. Hinzman, R.I.P. Zombie #1, you will be missed.
If you want to relive his iconic first performance, I have it cued up for you after the jump.