Travis: The Pensacola News Journal writes that according to Robert Z’Dar’s manager Jim Decker, Z’Dar has passed away in a Pensacola hospital. He was in the Florida town for Pensacon, a local comic convention. I know some of you will want to yank my geek card away when I tell you this, but I’ve never seen a Z’Dar movie. I’m correcting that right now by watching the MST3K episode on SoulTaker. I’m twenty-seven minutes in, and it’s fucking amazing. That’s the magic of Z’Dar, I hear. The man was sixty-four at the time of his death.
Drew: The only IMDb credit to my name is a film that featured Robert Z’Dar. I never met the guy (it was an anthology film and he’d already shot his segment), but even the most tangential connection to the B-movie legend always endeared me to him. Known for his inimitable face and willingness to work in just about anything, Z’Dar was one of the true cult movie icons. His most notable role was in the Maniac Cop trilogy, playing the zombified Matt Cordell, but just scroll through his 121 (!) acting credits on IMDb and you’re bound to find something from your childhood that the guy was in. Tango & Cash, Samurai Cop, Mobsters, and even goofier fare like Soultaker and Future War (both parodied on Mystery Science Theater 3000) are all more than worth a watch.
Z’Dar was one of those great examples that anyone can make a career in this crazy business. Even though he wasn’t going for any Oscars, the dude never stopped working and those are the actors I appreciate the most.
If you don’t have it already, pick up the excellent Maniac Cop 2 Blu-ray and pour one out for one of camp cinemas finest heroes.