“They’re dead. They’re all messed up.”
One of the most iconic lines in George Romero’s Night of the Living Dead was ad-libbed by Pennsylvania native George Kosana, who played Sheriff McClelland in the seminal zombie film. Today we’re sad to report that Kosana has passed away at the age of 81, his death coming in the wake of a myriad of health problems including emphysema, COPD, and macular degeneration.
Night of the Living Dead co-writer John Russo remembered his friend on Facebook:
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.
Kosana, a regular on the horror convention scene, reprised the role of Sheriff McClelland in both Living Dead (2012) and the upcoming My Uncle John is a Zombie!, the latter of which was penned and co-directed by John Russo. He also appeared in George Romero’s 1971 film There’s Always Vanilla, as well as The Booby Hatch (1976) and Incest Death Squad (2009).
We offer our sincere condolences to Kosana’s family and friends.