Roger Corman (born April 5, 1926) is an American producer and director of low-budget films. As such, he has apprenticed many now-famous directors, stressing the importance of budgeting and resourcefulness.
Corman is probably best known for his filmings of various Edgar Allan Poe stories at American International Pictures, including The House of Usher/The Fall of the House of Usher (1960), The Pit and the Pendulum (1961), Premature Burial (1962), Tales of Terror (1962) The Raven (1963), The Masque of the Red Death (1964) and The Tomb of Ligeia (1964). All but Premature Burial starred Vincent Price.
He also directed one of William Shatner's early films, The Intruder. Based on a short story by Charles Beaumont, the film, made for approximately USD$80,000, has become famous for its treatment of segregation and civil rights. He has produced over 300 movies and directed over 50.
Corman was born in Detroit, Michigan and received an industrial engineering degree from Stanford University. He began his career in 1953 as a producer and screenwriter, and began directing in 1955. Until his so-called "retirement" as a director in 1971 (he continued to produce films even after this date) he would produce up to seven movies a year, his fastest film was perhaps The Little Shop of Horrors (1960), which was reputedly shot in two days and one night (he had made a bet that he could shoot an entire feature film in less than three days), although this claim is also disputed by others who worked on the film and have called it part of Corman's own myth-building. Quite a number of his films contain elements of science fiction, for example Last Woman on Earth (1960).
Corman did return to the director's chair once after 1971 with Frankenstein Unbound (1990), although this was poorly received.
A number of noted film directors have worked with Corman, including Francis Ford Coppola, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard, Peter Bogdanovich, Jonathan Demme, James Cameron, and John Sayles. Many have cited that Corman's influence taught them some of the ins and outs of filmmaking. The British director Nicolas Roeg served as the cinematographer on The Masque of the Red Death. Actors who obtained their career breaks working for Corman are Jack Nicholson, Peter Fonda, Bruce Dern, Michael McDonald, Dennis Hopper and Robert DeNiro.
His autobiography, titled How I Made a Hundred Movies in Hollywood and Never Lost a Dime, documents his experiences in the film industry.