HOLLYWOOD (CBSLA.com) — Haskell Wexler, a legendary cinematographer who won two Academy awards through a decades-long career, died Sunday.
Wexler was 93.
His son Jeff told the Hollywood Reporter his father died peacefully in his sleep at Santa Monica’s Providence Saint John Health
“Accepting the Academy Award in 1967, pop said: `I hope we can use our art for peace and for love.’ An amazing life has ended but his commitment to fight the good fight, for peace, for all humanity, will carry on,” his son said.
The Chicago-born Wexler won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography for 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf” and again for 1976’s “Bound For Glory.” He was also the cinematographer on 1975’s Best Picture winner “One Flew Over the Cuckoo Nest” and 1967’s winner, “In the Heat of the Night.”
In addition to his prolific career as a cinematographer, Wexler will be remembered by film buffs for writing, producing and directing 1969’s “Medium Cool,” a drama starring Robert Forster as a cameraman who gets involved with a woman and her son. The film was shot in documentary style and used real footage — shot by Wexler — of riots in Chicago during the Democratic convention in 1968.
“Cool” earned a cult following and is considered way ahead of its time in the way it mixed reality and make-believe.
His other credits include such disparate fare as “Richard Pryor Live on the Sunset Strip,” “Colors,” “The Babe” and the HBO movie “61*” about Roger Maris chasing Babe Ruth’s single-season home run record.
Wexler attended UC Berkeley, then made documentary and educational films in Chicago for 10 years before moving west. In his later years, and he was working up until two years ago, he was drawn mostly to themes about politics.
He’s only one of a half dozen cinematographers to be awarded a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Wexler is survived by sons Jeff and Mark Wexler, who both followed in his footsteps, and third wife Rita Taggart, an actress and cinematographer.
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