Marilyn Eastman–who played Helen Cooper in 1968’s iconic Night of the Living Dead–passed away this week in Tampa, Fla. at the age of 87.
Eastman–who pulled double-duty as a zombie in George A. Romero’s classic horror film–also worked behind the scenes in the makeup, prop and sound departments. She also reportedly helped edit the screenplay.
Eastman, as reported by JoBlo.com, was one of the original members of the Image Ten production company that was formed to produce Night of the Living Dead. She also teamed up with co-star Karl Hardman–who portrayed Harry Cooper in the film–to form Hardman Eastman Associates, which produced films, radio commercials and advertising campaigns.
It is with great sadness that we can confirm the passing of Marilyn Eastman on 8/22/21. Please join us in wishing her family peace at this painful time.
Godspeed, Marilyn. Give our love to Karl. ? pic.twitter.com/qBidxsEIW3
— The George A. Romero Foundation (@theGARFofficial) August 23, 2021
Night of the Living Dead–directed by Romero from a screenplay he wrote with John Russo–is generally recognized as the first modern zombie film and a touchstone in the development of the horror genre.
Eastman is survived by sons Michael and John, five grandchildren, eight great-grandchildren and Hardman’s daughter Kyra (who played their daughter Karen in Night of the Living Dead).
The staff of Horror News Network extends its condolences to Eastman’s family, friends and colleagues.