Legendary movie maker Roger Corman dead at 98

Roger Corman, who made B-movies cool again by producing 120 of the best, is dead at 98. The director and producer of brilliant movies from Death Race 2000 to the Vincent Price-starring Poe sequence, from The Little Shop of Horrors to A Bucket of Blood, died Thursday at home with his family.

"His films were revolutionary and iconoclastic, and captured the spirit of an age. When asked how he would like to be remembered, he said, 'I was a filmmaker, just that,'" the family said in a statement.

Corman's empire, which existed in several incarnations, including New World Pictures, and Concorde/New Horizons, was as active as any major studio and, he boasted, always profitable. He specialized in fast-paced, low-budget genre movies — horror, action, science fiction, even some family fare — and his company became a work-in-training ground for a wide variety of major talents, from actors like Nicholson ("Little Shop of Horrors") and De Niro ("Boxcar Bertha") to directors like Francis Ford Coppola ("Dementia 13") and Scorsese ("Boxcar Bertha").

When Corman was awarded an Oscar at the AMPAS' first Governors Awards ceremony in November 2009, Ron Howard saluted him for hiring women in key exec and creative jobs, as well as for giving them big roles, and Walter Moseley was quoted as saying Corman offered "one of the few open doors," looking beyond age, race and gender.

The first one I saw wasn't one of his best (and he was producing, not shooting) but stuck with me all the same.

Previously: A long-lost Roger Corman movie starring Mark Hamill is finally getting released