Star Wars Cinematographer Gilbert Taylor Dies at 99
Gilbert Taylor, the veteran British cinematographer behind Star Wars and Dr. Strangelove, has died, the BBC reports. Taylor was 99.
His wife, Dee, says he died on Friday with his family at his bedside at his home on the Isle of Wight.
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Born in 1914, Taylor got his start in the film industry in 1929 as a camera assistant working at Gainsborough Studios in London. At the request of British prime minister Winston Churchill, Taylor spent six years with the Royal Air Force during World War II shooting the results of night-time raids.
Over his long career, Taylor worked with filmmakers such as Alfred Hitchcock (Frenzy), Stanley Kubrick (Dr. Strangelove) and Roman Polanski (Repulsion, Cul-de-Sac). Later in his career, he worked on science fiction films such as 1980's Flash Gordon and Star Wars. "George [Lucas] avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one," Taylor told American Cinematographer magazine. "So I read the extra-long script many times and made my own decisions as to how I would shoot the picture."
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Taylor also worked on television shows such as the 1960s series The Avengers and The Baron.
Later in his career, Taylor retired from feature films in 1994, but continued to shoot commercials while he also focused on painting. In 2001, Taylor received the lifetime achievement award from the British Society of Cinematographers, of which he was a founding member.
Taylor is survived by his wife of 46 years, Dee.