Two items that I missed while on my sabbatical, both related, one sad and one jubilant.
On July 21, Pittsburgh television personality Bill Cardille passed away from pneumonia brought on by liver cancer at the age of 87. Many across the country will recognize him as the newscaster in George Romero's classic NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD, but to Pennsylvania locals he was the beloved host of CHILLER THEATER from 1963 until 1984 as “Chilly Billy” Cardille.
He was a fixture on many convention circuits, especially “Monster Bash” outside Pittsburgh, along with his daughter Lori, also an actress (She starred in Mr. Romero's DAY OF THE DEAD.) As host of CHILLER THEATER he promoted the fundraising efforts of Mr. Romero's film company to raise money for NIGHT, and has often been credited by Mr. Romero for helping start his career.
When his daughter asked fans to send cards to help cheer him after his cancer diagnosis, fans stepped up admirably for their idol. Literally thousands of cards came in wishing him well and offering words of hope and support.
He was a genuine gentleman, and the community will be a little bit emptier with his loss.
In happier news, it was announced that the long-sought honor of a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for George Romero was finally becoming a reality. He will be part of the “Class of 2017”, honoring his accomplishments behind not only his DEAD films but also THE CRAZIES, MARTIN (my personal favorite), KNIGHTRIDERS, CREEPSHOW, THE DARK HALF, MONKEYSHINES and the television series TALES FROM THE DARKSIDE and MONSTERS.
In addition to his writing and directing efforts, Mr. Romero was very supportive of the successful “Fix the Chapel” efforts to save the Evans City Cemetery chapel featured in NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD. The restoration was completed in 2014.
A previous attempt to raise funds for the honor fell short, but this year's efforts were successful. No exact date has yet been announced for the ceremony; I will be listening carefully and let you know. In the meantime, I offer congratulations for this long-overdue occasion.
Surviving members of the cast and crew of NIGHT OF THE LIVING DEAD pose with organizers
of the "Fix The Chapel" event. Mr. Romero is in the center, standing.