In 1968, Director George Romero sought out a cast for his newest horror movie called “Night of the Living Dead.” Unlike his other films, Romero wanted to include an African-American hero. The chosen actor to fight the zombies was Duane Jones. In his role as Ben, Jones became the first African-American to be cast as a non-ethnic lead in a major motion picture in America, and the first time a black actor had a starring role in a horror film. Jones’ character was the universal hero for the first time on film.
“Night of the Living Dead” was called “historically, culturally and aesthetically important” by film critics.
The entire film cost for “Night of the Living Dead” was $114,000. Once the film hit the box office and was re-released several times, it grossed $12 million domestically and $18 million internationally.