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  • Writer's pictureAaron Fonseca

Original Dawn of the Dead Actor David Emge Dies at 77

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Actor David Emge, known for his unforgettable role in the classic horror movie Dawn of the Dead, has passed away.

Per the actor's obituary, David Emge died on Saturday, Jan. 20 at the West River Health Campus in Evansville, Indiana. A specific cause of death was not divulged. Emge was 77 years old.

David Emge was born on Sept. 9, 1946. He'd studied drama at the University of Evansville where he graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree, and during that time, he served for the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War. After starting his acting career with on-stage work in the early 1970s, Emge would make his feature film debut in the movie The Booby Hatch, a comedy released in 1975. He's also had roles in the films The Liberation of Cherry Janowski and The Devil and Sam Silverstein, both of which were released in 1978.

After his role in The Booby Hatch, David Emge was working as a chef in New York when he happened to meet legendary horror filmmaker George A. Romero. At the time, Romero was looking to make a sequel to his classic film Night of the Living Dead, which is credited as the grandfather of modern zombie horror films. Romero wound up casting Emge in the role of traffic reporter Stephen Andrews, aka "Flyboy," one of the film's main characters. One of the most memorable shots of the movie is when the elevator door opens following Flyboy's death, revealing that the character has reanimated as a zombie.

Emge would follow up his role in Dawn of the Dead with more horror appearances. In 1990, he appeared in the horror sequel Basket Case 2 with Kevin Van Hentenryck and Annie Ross. The actor also had a major role in the 1992 film Hellmaster alongside A Nightmare on Elm Street star John Saxon. Emge could also be seen in several documentary films, given his involvement with the hugely popular Dawn of the Dead movie, which was later remade by Zack Snyder and James Gunn. The actor was also very popular with horror fans and had enjoyed meeting with them a horror and sci-fi conventions.

Emge's survivors include three sisters (Sue, Kathleen, and Barbara) as well as several nieces, nephews, great nieces, and great nephews. Condolences and tributes can be left at the official website for the Pierre Funeral Home.

Rest in peace, David Emge.

Source: Courier & Press

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