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Haskell Wexler, Legendary Cinematographer, Dead at 93

Haskell Wexler, Legendary Cinematographer, Dead at 93

Haskell Wexler, cinematographer on classics of the 1960s and 1970s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?,” “In the Heat of the Night,” “Faces” (uncredited), “The Conversation” (uncredited), “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” “Bound for Glory,” “Days of Heaven,” and “Coming Home,” among others, died in his sleep this morning in Santa Monica, Calif., according to a Facebook post by his son, Jeff, and an announcement on his personal blog. He was 93.

The two-time Oscar winner—for “Woolf” (1966), shot in black and white, and “Bound for Glory” (1976), in color—also directed 12 features of his own, including a slew of stellar documentaries that reflected his progressive politics and 1969’s fictional portrait of a TV reporter embroiled in the violence that erupts around the 1968 Democratic National Convention, “Medium Cool”—which remains, along with “Network” and “Broadcast News,” one of the finest films ever made about American television. He received three additional nominations for Best Cinematography from the Academy, for “Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), John Sayles’ “Matewan” (1987), and Ron Shelton’s “Blaze” (1989). 

The tireless Wexler, who shot for such luminaries as Hal Ashby, John Cassavetes, Elia Kazan, Mike Nichols, Milos Forman, and Terrence Malick, was working right up until the end: he served as director of photography on the TV movie adaptation of Ian Ruskin’s one-man play “To Begin the World Over Again: The Life of Thomas Paine,” currently in post-production. He will be sorely missed.

Read Keyframe’s extensive obituary here, Roger Ebert’s 46-year-old interview with Wexler here, and a moving remembrance by his niece, the actress Daryl Hannah, here. Tributes on Twitter have been pouring in, and we’ve collected a few below:

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Comments

Susie Tanner

I grew up i a home where Haskell’s name and work was revered. Loved his sense of political commitment and his artistry. My love and condolences to Rita and his family.

Bill Tynan

RIP Haskell, The eye of a artist, the soul of a Generation , the heart of an
Angel , no one worked harder for ‘the right reason’ did the right thing and always surprised us with his genius !!!

Peter Zurla

A great loss. A brilliant filmmaker . Ahead of his time.

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