Famous Veteran: Roger Corman

Roger Corman
Navy veteran Roger Corman is best known for directing 'The Little Shop of Horrors.' (Courtesy photo)

"I was in the Navy for two years. They were the worst two years of my life. Any rule they set out, I felt it is my duty to break that rule."

He's known as the King of B movies, and while the moniker isn't his favorite, it's not something Roger Corman hates. He is known for producing a wealth of low-budget cult classics, so many of them that he can't keep track himself. From "The Little Shop of Horrors" to "Sharktopus," Corman has a long history in Hollywood and doesn't show any signs of slowing down.

Corman was born to Anne and William Corman in Detroit. He worked his way toward Stanford University and obtained a degree in industrial engineering. He enlisted in the V-12 Navy College Training Program and served for two years. After World War II, he went back to school to complete his degree. After four days on his first job with U.S. Electrical Motors, he quit and told his boss, "I've made a terrible mistake."

Corman worked his way up from a job in the mailroom of 20th Century Fox and became a story reader. He provided ideas for a project, but upon receiving no credit for it, he quit and vowed to work in film on his own.

The GI Bill allowed him to study English literature at Oxford University, and in 1953, he found work as a producer and screenwriter. Corman made his directorial debut in 1955.

Corman's list of cult classics is extensive and has been commemorated in a series of DVD and BluRay releases. Notable titles include:

  • "Death Race 2000"
  • "Starcrash"
  • "Attack of the Crab Monsters"
  • "Galaxy of Terror"
  • "Lady Frankenstein"

Corman also directed the famed "Little Shop of Horrors," which was turned into a Broadway musical that was translated back into a film. Anyone with fond memories of an enormous, mutant Venus flytrap grumbling, "Feed me!" can thank the imagination and drive of Roger Corman.

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