Easily one of the best performances in George A. Romero's "Dead Trilogy" would have to be that of Joseph Pilato as the scene-stealing Captain Rhodes in Day of the Dead, the lead human antagonist of the classic film and one of Romero's strongest characters, and let's not forget all of his endlessly quotable lines. Unfortunately, we've learned this afternoon that Pilato has passed away at the age of 70.
Before taking on the role of Rhodes in Day of the Dead, Pilato worked with Romero on Dawn of the Dead and Knightriders, playing small roles in each.
Throughout his career, Joe Pilato also starred in a handful of cult films and fan favorites, including Alienator, Effects, Empire of the Dark, The Evil Inside Me, Gung Ho, Terminal Force, Pulp Fiction, The Demolitionist, Shooters, Fatal Passion, Wishmaster and The Ghouls.
More recently, Pilato had a small role in the slasher film SHHHH and also lent his voice to Eibon Press' Bottomfeeder comics, which was originally meant to be Pilato's comeback film. Over 10 years in the making, the script was eventually turned into a comic series. Bottomfeeder, as Pilato's final project, is one hell of a thing to cherish. I highly recommend checking it out!
Pilato's friend Marty Schiff confirmed his passing on Facebook, writing: “It is with great sadness that I inform you that actor and old friend Joseph “Joe” Pilato passed away quietly in his sleep last night. Rest in Peace, Joe.”
Our condolences to Joseph Pilato's family and friends during this tough time. Rest easy, Captain.