This week’s W.Y.O.S.T. subject is Patricia Tallman. She popped into my head last week, because she was the co-lead alongside Tony Todd in George Romero’s 1990 remake of Night of the Living Dead, in which she played a considerably updated version of the Barbara character. No longer meek and vulnerable and seemingly catatonic, Tallman’s zombie-killing version of Barbara was an appealing change of pace — a tough 90s echo of Ripley from Aliens and a pre-cursor to Whedon’s Buffy the Vampire Slayer. But it wasn’t until I did an IMDB search that I realized I knew this redheaded actress from some other projects as well.
Patricia Tallman started her acting career on the stage, and didn’t arrive on the Hollywood scene until she landed a role in George Romero’s 1981 movie Knightriders (don’t worry, I’d never heard of it either). The film didn’t do well either critically or at the box office, but it kicked off an ongoing working relationship with Romero and with makeup legend Tom Savini. Over the next decade, she’d work with one or both of the two in various movies and TV shows, including Tales from the Darkside, Creepshow 2, Monkey Shines, and of course, Night of the Living Dead — sometimes as an actress, and sometimes as a stunt woman.