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Legendary British cinematographer Gilbert Taylor has died at 99. A quick glance at his resume, though, proves that the word ‘legendary’ even underestimates his incredible career that included Star Wars, Dr. Strangelove and A Hard Day’s Night.
His death was first reported by the BBC, which said that his wife Dee confirmed that he died Friday with his family around him at his Isle of Wight home.
Taylor was born in 1914 and began his film career in 1929 as a camera assistant for London’s Gainsborough Studios. His 70 credits as cinematographer stretch from 1948 to 1994 and include work with Stanley Kubrick on the black comedy Dr. Strangelove: Or How I Learned To Stop Worrying And Love The Bomb and filming George Lucas’ Star Wars in 1977. He also filmed the acclaimed horror movie The Omen and the cult classic Flash Gordon. Taylor worked with Alfred Hitchcock on one of the Master of Suspense’s last films, Franzy.
In 1964, he filmed Richard Lester’s A Hard Day’s Night with The Beatles before beginning a two-film collaboration with Roman Polanski - Repulsion and then Cul-de-sac.
Taylor “turned down a Bond picture,” Dee recalled to the BBC, “because he thought Roman was a very interesting guy.”
"Gilbert's work truly stands the test of time," George Lucas said in a statement on StarWars.com. "I had long admired his work on films such as A Hard Day's Night and Dr. Strangelove and I had the privilege of working with him on Star Wars. He was a true expert in his craft. Gilbert's inspired work will live on in the many films he contributed to throughout his long career."
While Taylor was never nominated for an Oscar, he did earn two BAFTA nominations for his work with Polanski.
Dee told the BBC that Taylor was a “wonderful, kind, funny, amusing [and] terribly talented in every aspect. There was nothing he couldn't do.”