Roger Corman

Roger Corman

Ever since the early 1950s, famed indie producer and sometime director Roger Corman turned out hundreds of low-budget genre flicks while revolutionizing the way films were made and distributed. Working outside the studio system, Corman established a record as one of the most commercially successful filmmakers in Hollywood history, having had about 90 percent of his films turn a profit. Though he had made over 200 films in his career, there were a few that stood out as classics of their genre, including "Not of This Earth" (1957), "The Little Shop of Horrors" (1960), "The Raven" (1963), "Death Race 2000" (1975) and "Battle Beyond the Stars" (1980). Perhaps more important than being a success himself, Corman was singlehandedly responsible for launching numerous Hollywood careers, boasting some of the biggest names of the latter half of the 20th century as his protégés - Jack Nicholson, Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Jonathan Demme, Joe Dante, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, John Sayles, Curtis Hanson and James Cameron, among many others, all of whom started their careers with Corman. Meanwhile, in the 1970s, he helped such foreign directors as Akira Kurosawa, Francois Truffaut and Ingmar Bergman gain a distribution foothold in the United States when no one else would take the chance. Having been one of the first producers to recognize the financial advantages of shooting in Europe while he used sets discarded from other lavish, expensive movies for his own films, it was no wonder that Corman, once dubbed the "King of the B's," had become one of the most prolific and successful producers of his day.