What can be said about Joe Pilato? He was loud, in your face, fun, and always had the dial set to eleven. But the man also had a heart of absolute gold. Saying goodbye to him is… well… hard. But wow, did he make an impact on fans of the horror genre.
Though he appeared in many films over the years, including Pulp Fiction, Knightriders, and Dawn of the Dead, it was his role as the in-your-face Captain Rhodes from George A. Romero’s classic Day of the Dead that granted him a permanent residence in the hearts of horror fans. And he loved his fans. Adored them. He was always happy to spout lines from Day and take as many pictures as possible. Despite his at times larger than life personality, Joe was always there… always treated people with kindness… and possessed the uncanny ability to make you smile in any situation.
Recently, Joe was immortalized in print as one of the key figures in the Eibon Press comic Bottomfeeder. Seeing himself in comic form brought tears to this man’s eyes, and he was so very damned proud of being a part of it.
Pilato passed away over the weekend at age 70 quietly in his sleep, but there’s no doubt in my mind that the love people have for him will NEVER go quietly into the night. Fans will likely be quoting Pilato for decades to come, and that’s why he will ALWAYS be running this monkey farm.
Thank you, Joe, for the memories, the laughs, and the long nights of stories. I love you, my friend. Hope you and papa George are splitting a bottle on some cloud somewhere! Later days! Hasta manana, amigo! God bless you!