Please take a moment to fill your glasses. We have another toast of remembrance to raise.
I have just been informed of the passing of Bill Hinzman at the age of 75.
Yes, Bill Hinzman... the screen's first full-fledged, flesh-eating Romero ghoul -- in short, The First Zombie.
Scott William Hinzman
(1936 ---- 2012)
Hinzman was the Cemetery Ghoul, the Graveyard Zombie, from the very first modern zombie film in the first and best zombie film property in history, 1968's Night of the Living Dead.
He may not have been Zombie Zero -- we don't know who, or what, was the first shuffling, biting, infecting ghoul along the East Coast after that Venus probe came back from space carrying that mysterious, high-level radiation -- but he was the very first ghoul we saw, as Johnny teased his sister, "They're coming to get you, Barbara."
He started it all.
He also happened to be a fine cameraman for Romero for that film, and was involved in other Romero projects like There's Always Vanilla (1971), Season of the Witch (1972) and The Crazies (1973). He worked on other films as well, notably directing his own reboot of his Cemetery Zombie character in Flesh Eater (1986).
For many years, Bill had been a staple at horror and fantasy film conventions, dressing up in his iconic makeup and suit, delighting convention goers, autographing pictures and spending time with Dead fans, all of whom will tell you what a kind, funny and approachable fellow he always was.
He doesn't look all that approachable here, but seriously, he was!
Sorry to see you go, Bill.
I hope you can get some rest now.
... somehow, I can't imagine him staying down for long...
So, a toast, as we must --
They came and got you, Bill.