‘Star Wars’ cinematographer Gilbert Taylor dies at 99

Aug. 23, 2013 | 2:20 p.m.
"Star Wars: Episode IV - A New Hope" (1977)On the day "Star Wars" thundered into theaters on May 25, 1977, the film's producer Gary Kurtz appeared on a radio call-in show. Kurtz recalled: "This guy, this caller, was really enthusiastic and talking about the movie in really deep detail. ... I said, 'You know a lot abut the film.' He said, 'Yeah, yeah, I've seen it four times already.' And that was opening day. I knew something was happening." (Lucasfilm)

“Star Wars: Episode IV – A New Hope” (1977). (Lucasfilm)

“Star Wars” cinematographer Gilbert Taylor died Friday at the age of 99, leaving behind a rich cinematic legacy.

His wife told the BBC that Taylor died at his home on the Isle of Wight.

Over the course of an impressive, decades-long career, Taylor amassed a lengthy résumé that included a number of landmark films, including Roman Polanski’s “Repulsion,” Stanley Kubrick’s “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb” and Alfred Hitchcock’s “Frenzy.”

He also served as the cinematographer on the Beatles’ film “A Hard Day’s Night,” Richard Donner’s horror film “The Omen” and 1979’s “Dracula” starring Frank Langella and Laurence Olivier, in addition to working with George Lucas on the original “Star Wars” film.

Lucas and Taylor didn’t always see eye to eye on the set of the production.

“George avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one, so I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture,” Taylor said in a 2006 interview with ASC magazine.

– Gina McIntyre | @LATHeroComplex

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