Haskell Wexler (1922 - 2015)
By: Legacy Staff
2 years ago
Influential cinematographer and documentarian Haskell Wexler, who won Oscars for his work in both areas, has died, according to Variety. He was 93.
Wexler's death Sunday was confirmed with a post on the HaskellWexler.com blog. His son Jeff shared via Facebook that Wexler died "peacefully in his sleep."
"An amazing life has ended but his lifelong commitment to fight the good fight, for peace, for all humanity, will live on," Jeff Wexler wrote.
Haskell Wexler won two Oscars for cinematography, for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" in 1966 and for "Bound for Glory" 10 years later. He also received an Oscar in 1970 for the short documentary "Interview With My Lai Veterans," which was directed by Richard Pearce.
Wexler also wrote and directed two feature films, "Medium Cool" in 1969 and "Latino" in 1985. "Medium Cool" was notable for Wexler's use of cinema verite-style documentary filmmaking techniques, as well as for combining fictional and nonfictional content.
Wexler joined the International Photographers Guild in 1947. He codirected and shot the documentary short film "The Living City" in 1953 with John Barnes; it was nominated for an Oscar. He moved on to Roger Corman's 1957 independent feature, "Stakeout on Dope Street," and several other low-budget films.
His black-and-white photography for "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" brought Wexler his first Oscar. Over the next several years, he would photograph many of the most memorable films of the era, including "In the Heat of the Night," "The Conversation," "American Graffiti" and "One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest," for which he was nominated for an Academy Award.
In 1976, he won his second Oscar, for "Bound for Glory." In the '80s and '90s, he shot films including "Richard Pryor: Live on the Sunset Strip," "Colors," "Other People's Money" and "The Rolling Stones: Live at the Max" in 1992.
Beginning with his documentary on the Washington Freedom March, "The Bus," in 1965, Wexler worked on documentaries about social injustices. "Interview With My Lai Veterans" brought him another Oscar in 1970.
He was born in Chicago and spent five years in the merchant marine, after which he studied at the University of California at Berkeley.
In 1996, he was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first cinematographer in 35 years to be so honored.
In addition to two sons, Mark and Jeff, Wexler is survived by third wife Rita Taggart, an actress and cinematographer, and his daughter, Kathy.
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