Los Angeles: Oscar-winning cinematographer and documentary filmmaker Haskell Wexler is dead. He was 93.
Wexler’s death on Sunday was confirmed with a post on the HaskellWexler.com blog. His son Jeff shared via Facebook that the 93-year-old died “peacefully in his sleep,” said a report.
“An amazing life has ended but his lifelong commitment to fight the good fight, for peace, for all humanity, will live on,” Jeff wrote.
Haskell won two Oscars for cinematography, for ‘Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?’ in 1966 and for ‘Bound for Glory’ 10 years later. He also got an Oscar in 1970 for the short documentary ‘Interview With My Lai Veterans,’ directed with Richard Pearce.
“We are deeply saddened by the death of one of our most esteemed board members. Haskell’s cinematography has always been an inspiration to so many of us not only in the Guild, but in the entire industry,” said Steven Poster, ASC, president of the International Cinematographers Guild (ICG).
Haskell joined the International Photographers Guild in 1947. He co-directed and shot documentary short “The Living City” in 1953 with John Barnes; it was nominated for an Oscar.
He worked into the Hollywood system starting with Roger Corman’s 1957 independent feature “Stakeout on Dope Street,” directed by Irvin Kershner, and several other low-budget films. He also worked as an assistant cameraman on “The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.”
After working on “The Hoodlum Priest” and “Angel Baby” in 1961, Haskell was working with top directors including Elia Kazan (“America, America”), Franklin Schaffner (“The Best Man”) and Tony Richardson (“The Loved One”) within three years.
His black-and-white photography for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” brought him his first Oscar, and he received Lifetime Achievement awards from the American Society of Cinematographers, the Independent Documentary Association and the Society of Operating Cameramen.
In 1996, Haskell was awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, and it was special as he was the first cinematographer in 35 years to be honoured this way.
Besides his sons, Haskell is survived by third wife Rita Taggart, an actress and cinematographer, and daughter Kathy.