Gilbert Taylor dies: 'Star Wars' cinematographer was 99

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Gilbert Taylor, a veteran cinematographer known for his work on films like "Star Wars," "The Omen" and "Dr. Strangelove," has died on the Isle of Wight in Britain at the age of 99.

Active in the film industry since 1929, Taylor started out as a camera assistant who later began to specialize in cinematography. By the 1960s, he sufficiently in-demand that he was able to turn down work on one of the James Bond films. Taylor's work appeared in the Beatles' film "A Hard Day's Night," Alfred Hitchcock's "Frenzy," and television shows like "The Avengers."

The cinematographer worked on several films -- including "Repulsion" and "Cul-de-Sac" -- with Roman Polanski, a man he considered to be a close personal friend. For Stanley Kubrick, Taylor was the cinematographer for the classic, "Dr. Strangelove." He later called the lighting on that film's set "sheer magic."

Despite his many credits, Taylor is perhaps best-known for his cinematography for the original "Star Wars" film in 1977. The cinematographer later described the job as not his favorite experience. "George avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one," Taylor said in an interview with the 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."

Taylor made his final feature film in 1994 but continued to work on commercials for several years afterwards. The BBC reports that Gilbert Taylor died with his wife and family by his side.

Photo/Video credit: 20th Century Fox
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