George Kosana, the actor who played Sheriff McClelland in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead, has passed away today at the age of 81. Kosana also worked as a production manager on the film and acted from time to time in various low budget horror movies over the years.
John Russo, the co-writer of Night of the Living Dead, shared his memories of Kosana on Facebook earlier today:
“GEORGE KOSANA, R.I.P. My close friend George Kosana, who played the sheriff in NOLD, has regrettably passed away after a long battle with various illnesses. He will be greatly missed by me, by his fellow NOLD cast and crew members and by his many fans. For the past few days, I have been constantly reliving my many good and often funny remembrances of him.”
The Sheriff is certainly one of the most memorable characters of Night of the Living Dead, and Kosana was well known for his willingness to go above and beyond to make fan experiences remarkable over the years. If you were lucky enough to meet him at a horror convention, you could bet on walking away with a smile on your face. One of his favorite inscriptions to write on autographed photos was one of McClelland’s most famous lines: “Yeah, they’re dead. They’re all messed up.”
George will be sincerely missed by his many fans and collaborators.