The current phenomenon of zombie-related movies, television programming, merchandise and pop culture owes everything to George A. Romero’s NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD, and there is no more iconic image from that film than the undead stare of “Karen Cooper,” the little girl-turned-flesh-eating-ghoul as portrayed by KYRA SCHON.
Kyra's real-life father was NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD producer and lead actor, the late Karl Hardman, and it was through this affiliation that she received the role, originally scripted for a boy, at the age of nine. Little Karen Cooper’s frightening scene of stabbing her mother to death with a cement trowel has propelled the character into the realm of “classic movie monster” status, and helped to “cement” NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD alongside Alfred Hitchcock’s PSYCHO as among the scariest in horror film history. It is Kyra’s image that has been utilized on hundreds of products, a majority of which are unauthorized, from books and DVDs to lunch boxes and lip balm.
All grown up, Kyra remains a friend to NIGHT of the LIVING DEAD fans and goodwill ambassador of the film through her convention appearances all over the world. She is an accomplished artist and art teacher, offering custom, hand-made jewelry through her eshop www.stonehousearts.etsy.com, and original collectibles featuring her classic Karen Cooper image at www.ghoulnextdoor.com. Kyra has also created a series of original “Spiffy” greeting cards that feature her beloved pooch and inspiration, Spiffy, which are available at www.spiffycards.com, and she administers the paranormal-themed web site www.hauntedsquirrel.com.