By MICHAEL GINGOLD
It’s been a sad season for horror fans; following the deaths of Dick Miller, John Carl Buechler and Larry Cohen comes word that actor Joseph Pilato has passed away.
Various sources are reporting that Pilato died last night at age 70. The Boston-born performer fell in with George A. Romero’s crew in the late 1970s, and had small roles in Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979) and KNIGHTRIDERS (1981), as well as Dusty Nelson’s EFFECTS (1980). Then he landed his most colorful role in 1985’s DAY OF THE DEAD, playing Captain Rhodes, the antagonistic leader of a group of soldiers sharing an underground bunker with a team of scientists dealing with the worldwide zombie plague. Rhodes is among the most memorable human villains in Romero’s filmography, and dies one of horror’s most bloodily spectacular deaths.
After DAY, Pilato did a number of other genre films, including Robert Kurtzman’s THE DEMOLITIONIST and WISHMASTER and Chad Ferrin’s THE GHOULS, SOMEONE’S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR and PARASITES. His final appearance was in Jason Rutherford’s SHHHH!