Select Page

RIP “DAY OF THE DEAD” star Joseph Pilato

Monday, March 25, 2019 | News

By MICHAEL GINGOLD

It’s been a sad season for horror fans; following the deaths of Dick Miller, John Carl Buechler and Larry Cohen comes word that actor Joseph Pilato has passed away.

Various sources are reporting that Pilato died last night at age 70. The Boston-born performer fell in with George A. Romero’s crew in the late 1970s, and had small roles in Romero’s DAWN OF THE DEAD (1979) and KNIGHTRIDERS (1981), as well as Dusty Nelson’s EFFECTS (1980). Then he landed his most colorful role in 1985’s DAY OF THE DEAD, playing Captain Rhodes, the antagonistic leader of a group of soldiers sharing an underground bunker with a team of scientists dealing with the worldwide zombie plague. Rhodes is among the most memorable human villains in Romero’s filmography, and dies one of horror’s most bloodily spectacular deaths.

After DAY, Pilato did a number of other genre films, including Robert Kurtzman’s THE DEMOLITIONIST and WISHMASTER and Chad Ferrin’s THE GHOULS, SOMEONE’S KNOCKING AT THE DOOR and PARASITES. His final appearance was in Jason Rutherford’s SHHHH!

Michael Gingold
Michael Gingold (RUE MORGUE's Head Writer) has been covering the world of horror cinema for over three decades, and spent 28 years as a writer and editor for FANGORIA magazine and its website. In addition to RUE MORGUE, he currently writes for BIRTH.MOVIES.DEATH, SCREAM, IndieWire.com, TIME OUT, DELIRIUM and others. His book THE FRIGHTFEST GUIDE TO MONSTER MOVIES (FAB Press) is out this fall, and he has contributed liner notes and featurettes to a number of Blu-ray and DVD releases. Among his screenplay credits are SHADOW: DEAD RIOT and LEECHES!, and he is currently working on THE DOLL with director Dante Tomaselli.