Academy Award-winning cinematographer Andrew Lesnie has died at the age of 59.
Leslie was the cinematographer for Peter Jackson’s “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, for which he won his first and only Oscar in 2002. He afterwards continued to shoot for Jackson, lensing “King Kong,” The Lovely Bones” and “The Hobbit” trilogy.
“Andrew Lesnie and Peter Jackson would giggle behind the camera together like the most mischievous pair of movie masters that I’ve seen,” said film critic Harry Knowles, who visited the set of “The Lord of the Rings.”
Jackson’s New Zealand production house, Weta Digital, posted their condolences on Facebook: “Our memories of Andrew will always be of a wonderful and caring person who looked out for the technicians around him, was keen to have a good laugh and keep everyone jollied along, even when things were at the most stressful for everyone.”
Ron Johanson, president of the Cinematographers Society in Australia, told Variety that Lesnie had suffered from a serious heart condition throughout the previous six months. “Words cannot express the absolute feeling of loss, particularly for his immediate family,” Johanson said.
In addition to working on blockbuster studio pictures like “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and “I Am Legend,” Lesnie also had an extensive indie film career, having shot “Babe” and the upcoming Russell Crowe vehicle “The Water Diviner.” Crowe reacted to the news on Twitter: