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July 17, 2017

In 1968, George A. Romero made Night of the Living Dead on a shoestring budget of $114,000. It earned $30 million at the box office, launched the modern zombie genre, and set the rules about the animated undead that writers and directors still abide by 50 years later. Romero, who followed it up with several more Dead movies and other films in various genres, died in his sleep on Sunday in Toronto after a brief battle with aggressive lung cancer, his manager, Chris Roe, said Sunday night. He was 77 and surrounded by his wife, Suzanne Desrocher, and daughter, Tina Romero, listening to the score of The Quiet Man, a favorite film.

Night of the Living Dead didn't use the word "zombie," previously depicted as a living person enchanted through voodoo, but it set the ground rules for the zombie genre: Slow-moving undead flesh-eaters whose bite kills and infects its victims, turning them into zombies. Romero's most successful follow-up was Dawn of the Dead (1978), and after the 1985 commercial and critical flop Day of the Dead, he retired the franchise until 2005, when he released the star-packed Land of the Dead.

Romero's zombies were always social or political commentary, stand-ins for perceived political or societal ills, including racism, conformity, materialism and mall culture, and class warfare. "The zombies, they could be anything," Romero told The Associated Press in 2008. "They could be an avalanche, they could be a hurricane. It's a disaster out there. The stories are about how people fail to respond in the proper way. They fail to address it." People would say, "You're trapped in this genre — you're a horror guy," he added, but he disagreed. "I say, 'Wait a minute, I'm able to say exactly what I think.' ... I'm able to talk about, comment about, take snapshots of what's going on at the time. I don't feel trapped. I feel this is my way of being able to express myself."

Romero was born in the Bronx in 1940, and was always a fan of film. He graduated from Carnegie Mellon in Pittsburgh in 1960 and learned his trade working on movie sets and on Pittsburgh-based Mister Rogers' Neighborhood. Nobody took his first zombie movie seriously, but now "people write their thesis about it," he told USA Today in 2010. "I don't think it deserves half of the treatises about it." You can watch the trailer for Romero's 1968 cult classic below. Peter Weber

10:29 p.m. ET
Ezra Shaw/Getty Images

A veterans organization says it is being censored by the NFL after the league rejected its one-page ad, with the message "Please Stand," from the upcoming Super Bowl's program, saying it's too political.

"The Super Bowl game program is designed for fans to commemorate and celebrate the game, players, teams, and the Super Bowl," NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy told USA Today Sports. "It's never been a place for advertising that could be considered by some as a political statement." He added that the NFL has "long supported the military and veterans and will again salute our service members in the Super Bowl with memorable on-field moments that will be televised as part of the game."

AMVETS said it has placed similar ads in official NHL and NBA programs, and its executive director, Joe Chenelly, believes his group deserves the same platform as players who are protesting police brutality by kneeling during the national anthem. The protests are "very much out of our purview," he told USA Today Sports, and the ads are part of the group's attempts to teach people about the flag and how to care for it. McCarthy said AMVETS was asked to consider other taglines, including "Please Honor Our Vets" and "Please Stand for Our Veterans," but the organization never responded, and the program had to go to the printer. Catherine Garcia

9:34 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

With President Trump's blessing, Attorney General Jeff Sessions has been pressuring FBI Director Christopher Wray to fire Deputy Director Andrew McCabe, but Wray has threatened to resign if McCabe is forced out, three people with direct knowledge of the matter told Axios.

Sessions told White House counsel Don McGahn that Wray is distressed by the request, Axios reports, and McGahn in turn said it's not worth losing the director, especially in the wake of Trump firing former FBI Director James Comey last year. Trump nominated Wray last June, and he previously served as deputy attorney general under former President George W. Bush. McCabe was acting director of the FBI after Comey was fired, and Trump and other Republicans want him gone because his wife ran for office as a Democrat. Catherine Garcia

9:03 p.m. ET
AP Photo/Eric Risberg, File

Naomi Parker Fraley, a former waitress who inspired the artist behind the 1943 "We Can Do It!" poster, died Saturday in Longview, Washington. She was 96.

Several people claimed to be the model for the poster, which was created for the Westinghouse Electric Corporation, but in 2016, Seton Hall University Prof. James Kimble discovered that artist J. Howard Miller was most likely inspired by a photo of Fraley that appeared in newspapers across the country. The photo showed Fraley, who worked in a Navy machine shop during World War II, standing at an industrial lathe, her hair up in polka-dotted bandana. "The women of this country these days need some icons," Fraley told People in 2016, after Kimble tracked her down. "If they think I'm one, I'm happy."

Fraley was 20 when she she started working at the machine shop, along with her younger sister, Ada, and they spent their days drilling, patching airplane wings, and riveting. The poster was only up in Westinghouse factories for a brief time, and it didn't become a feminist symbol, with the woman dubbed Rosie the Riveter, until the early 1980s, The New York Times reports. Catherine Garcia

8:07 p.m. ET
Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

President Trump on Monday, acting on recommendations by the U.S. International Trade Commission, approved imposing tariffs on solar panels and washing machines.

The administration says that by placing a tariff of 30 percent on most imported solar modules and a tariff of up to 50 percent on large residential washing machines, this will help American companies. Both tariffs will be phased out by 2022.

While Whirlpool is pleased with the news, with its chairman saying it will create manufacturing jobs, Bill Vietas, a member of the Solar Energy Industries Association and president of RBI Solar in Cincinnati, said the tariffs will hurt his industry, which has grown immensely over the past five years. "Government tariffs will increase the cost of solar and depress demand, which will reduce the orders we're getting and cost manufacturing workers their jobs," he told The Associated Press. Catherine Garcia

7:19 p.m. ET
Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images

On Monday, the nonprofit government watchdog group Common Cause filed two federal complaints, alleging that President Trump's personal lawyer Michael Cohen paid $130,000 in October 2016 to an adult film star who had an affair with Trump, and this may have been a violation of campaign finance laws.

In a letter to Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein, Common Cause's campaign finance expert Paul S. Ryan wrote that "because the funds were paid for the purpose of influencing the 2016 presidential general election," this payment should have been considered a campaign expense, but was never reported.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month that Cohen paid Stormy Daniels $130,000 shortly before the election, around the same time she stopped speaking with different journalists about an affair she said she had with Trump. Daniels, whose real name is Stephanie Clifford, told In Touch and Slate about having consensual sexual encounters with Trump after she met him at a 2006 golf tournament. Cohen has denied paying Daniels, and told The Washington Post on Monday Common Cause's complaints are "baseless." Catherine Garcia

6:24 p.m. ET
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After the Senate passed a bipartisan bill to reopen the government, the House followed Monday evening, voting 266-150 in favor of the measure and sending the legislation to President Trump's desk.

This will fund the federal government through Feb. 8, and the Children's Health Insurance Program for six years. It will also ensure federal workers receive back pay. To get Democrats on board, Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) promised that immigration legislation will be brought to a vote by Feb. 8 if it's not resolved earlier. The Senate passed the bill 81-18. Catherine Garcia

5:52 p.m. ET
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The Milwaukee Bucks have fired head coach Jason Kidd, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Monday. Kidd, a former NBA All-Star, had coached the team since 2014.

After stumbling to a 23-22 record, Bucks management apparently determined that the problem with their underperforming team was Kidd. Most observers expected the Bucks to be a top team in the NBA's Eastern Conference this season, after star forward Giannis Antetokounmpo became an early frontrunner for the league's Most Valuable Player award. But as the season wore on, the Bucks were frequently outplayed by inferior teams, and their opponents feasted on a diet of shots near the basket and from behind the three-point line — the two most profitable shots in basketball.

The Bucks' coaching gig, NBA writer Matt Moore noted on Twitter, is an intoxicating position, thanks to the 23-year-old phenom Antetokounmpo. The rest of the roster, meanwhile, is comprised of long and versatile players who, in theory, complement Antetokounmpo perfectly — alongside early-season trade acquisition Eric Bledsoe, a proven scorer.

Speculation is already swirling about who the Bucks' next head coach will be. The Ringer's Bill Simmons predicted that TV analyst and former head New York Knicks head coach Jeff Van Gundy would be interested, while USA Today's Sam Amick said that former New Orleans Pelicans coach Monty Williams could become an early favorite for the job. In the interim, Bucks assistant coach Joe Prunty will take the reigns, starting with Monday's game against the Phoenix Suns. Kelly O'Meara Morales

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