Owen Roizman, 'French Connection' cinematographer, dies at 86

5-time Oscar nominated cinematographer Owen Roizman, who shot landmark movies collectively with “The French Connection,” “The Exorcist,” “community” and “Tootsie,” has died. He was 86.

The American Society of Cinematographers confirmed Saturday that Roizman had died after an prolonged sickness.

the ny-born Roizman, who died at his residence in l. a., was given an honorary Oscar for his profession achievements in 2017, having retired from the film enterprise inside the Nineteen Nineties with out but taking residence one among many Academy of film Arts and Sciences gold statuettes, regardless of the a quantity of nominations.

Roizman was recognized for his collaborations with Sydney Pollack and William Friedkin. His film work included “Play It as quickly as extra, Sam,” “The Heartbreak baby,” “Three Days of the Condor” and “Wyatt Earp.”

He acquired his first Oscar nomination for 1971’s “The French Connection” — his second film — which starred Gene Hackman as a violent police detective. After filming the influential Friedkin-directed neo-noir crime thriller, collectively with its famed automotive chase sequence, Roizman grew to become recognized for his “gritty” documentary mannequin, a designation he found amusing, given the vast selection of genres by which he excelled.

“immediately after ‘The French Connection,’ I acquired labeled as a gritty the ny avenue photographer, which i believed was very humorous as a end result of I had by no means shot something like ‘The French Connection’ earlier than that,” Roizman instructed the l. a. occasions in a 2017 interview. “I acquired a kick out of that. My important aim was on an everyday basis simply to serve the story and to inform the story visually the best method I knew how.”

Roizman, born in Brooklyn on Sept. 22, 1936, grew up with camerawork in his blood.

His father, Sol, was a cinematographer for Fox Movietone information. His uncle Morrie was a film editor. After graduating from Gettysburg faculty in Pennsylvania, he started his profession as an assistant cameraman in commercials and labored his method as a lot as cinematographer.

He acquired his break in a low-price range 1970 film, “cease,” that was seen by virtually nobody — aside from some key of us — Friedkin and “The French Connection’s” producer Phil D’Antoni, who appreciated his work.

“The French Connection” was notable for its use of accessible exterior gentle, giving it its exact-life really feel. The seminal chase scene veers by the imply streets of current York as arduous-nosed Det. Popeye Doyle (an Oscar-worthwhile Hackman) commandeers a civilian automotive and tries to protect up with the hit man who’s trying an escape on an elevated practice.

“It was carried out in two completely different methods,” Roizman instructed The occasions in 2011. “Three cameras had been used contained in the automotive, collectively with a digicam on the dashboard which might look out by the windshield and one over the driver’s shoulder. From the floor, we had 5 cameras. We broke all of it of the method down to 5 stunts, and the the rest of it was simply bits and gadgets. For every of the stunts we had 5 cameras arrange at completely different angles to cowl all of it.”

Roizman instructed American Cinematographer that “the most very important draw again there was attempting to match as a end result of the sunshine was altering consistently. As we’d run alongside the observe, one other practice would cross and block out the sunshine. Or we’d go between tall buildings and which might reduce down the sunshine inside the course of a scene.”

His work on Friedkin’s 1973 film, “The Exorcist,” is remembered for bringing a lived-in realism to the supernatural horror style.

one among many challenges of filming the climatic exorcism scene was to convey the freezing temperature of the kid’s bed room by getting the actors’ breath to level onscreen, he mentioned to American Cinematographer.

To get the believable impression, the filmmakers created a reproduction of the room and refrigerated it.

“A system was developed that would possibly refrigerate the room quickly to any temperature from zero to twenty under,” Roizman mentioned. “The breath confirmed up positive at zero, however Friedkin wished the actors to actually really feel the chilly as a end result of he felt which might assist their appearing. An actor on his knees for quarter-hour at 20 under zero is de facto going to really feel chilly. It labored out very properly.”

The film earned Roizman his second Oscar nod.

He moved from the ny to l. a. in 1976, later establishing his personal tv enterprise manufacturing agency, Roizman & Associates.

His completely different Oscar-nominated work spanned a quantity of a long time, collectively with Sidney Lumet’s tv information satire “community” (1976), Pollack’s Dustin Hoffman comedy “Tootsie” (1982) and Lawrence Kasdan’s western “Wyatt Earp” (1994). “The French Connection,” “The Exorcist,” “community” and “Tootsie” had been all nominated for best picture as properly. “The French Connection” gained.

In 1997, he acquired a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers.

He mentioned he by no means regretted turning down any film — even “Jaws,” the commerce-altering Steven Spielberg summer time blockbuster from 1975.

“We spoke for maybe three hours on the cellphone, and that i actually appreciated him — and that i nonetheless to at the present time love the man,” Roizman mentioned. “however what he didn’t know is that i used to be pondering to myself the full time, as he was describing the story to me, ‘Jesus, a shark terrorizing a metropolis on prolonged Island — which means occurring a ship rather a lot.’ I get seasick. so as that didn’t sound too inviting to me. So I turned it down actually for that purpose.”

he is survived by his spouse, Mona Lindholm and his son, Eric Roizman, who pursued his personal profession behind the digicam, engaged on “Wyatt Earp” collectively with his father, collectively with completely different footage.



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