A famous cinematographer, Haskell Wexler passed away at a ripe old age. He was 93 when he breathed his last.
He was the most innovative and creative of cinematographers in all of Tinsel Town. And not only did he shine in the celluloid stuff he made for onscreen viewing, but he loved playing a key role in the politics of the nation.
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He died recently and was in his early 90s when he bade this world farewell. His son Jeff confirmed his demise. Haskell not only had a star of his own name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame but also won two Academy Awards.
He belonged to the artistic avant-garde. Yet that did not stop him from sacrificing time and money for a whole bunch of worthy causes. One of these was shot for cinema in the form of Medium Cool. It covered the Democratic National Convention in Chicago in 1968.
Haskell refused to recognize any limits in his medium of expression. That was the hallmark of his greatness and uncompromising genius. He was a man who loved to engage in a conflict or two. He grabbed an Oscar for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?...
About ten years later he won another one for Bound for Glory. This one was about the folk singer Woody Guthrie. He got nominated for the Oscars at least five times in a row.
The first Oscar nomination was for The Living City. He also got an award for Matewan. This was about the conditions of coal miners. Haskell was a celebrity along with being a cinematographer.
He rubbed shoulders and hobnobbed with the best of the elite crowd of producers and directors in his time. Elia Kazan was with him on America, America.
Even George Lucas credited him as the visual consultant on his 1973 comedy American Graffiti. Lucas was not as famous as Haskell which was kind of ironic.
Haskell sure was a hard worker. Never for a single second did he shirk work. He was a responsible and conscientious gentleman. Such people are a rare breed in Hollywood.
He did not just pay attention to the “Lights! Camera! Action!” sequences but got right down into the nitty gritty stuff such as the story’s plot and narrative.
The moral, political and spiritual aspects of the flow in which the film was depicted mattered to him beyond words. Such rarity in individual sensitivity is hard to find.
He was indeed unique and one of a kind. He also used chiarascuro in his films since he was colorblind. He was a diehard radical to the core. He is survived by his two sons and a wife. Also he has a sister, according to NYTimes.
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May his family, friends and colleagues not to mention myriad fans find solace in the fact that he lived life to the hilt without any regrets. Rest in peace, Haskell Wexler, for you were the soul of Hollywood.