Cinematographer Lesnie dies
(MENAFN- Arab Times) LOS ANGELES April 28 (Agencies): Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie whose career spanned nearly 40 years and included all of 'The Lord of the Rings' and 'The Hobbit' films died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 59.
In addition to working with director Peter Jackson on J.R.R. Tolkien's fantasy series Lesnie was responsible for several blockbusters such as 'Rise of the Planet of the Apes' and Will Smith's 'I Am Legend.' In 2002 he won his first and only Oscar for lensing the original 'Lord of the Rings' pic 'The Fellowship of the Ring.' 'I wouldn't recommend that anyone do a trilogy' he joked at the time. After the 'Lord of the Ring' franchise Lesnie continued to work behind the camera for Jackson on 'King Kong' 2009's 'The Lovely Bones' and most recently 'The Hobbit' trilogy. Jackson has yet to release an official statement on Lesnie's passing but the staff at his production house in New Zealand WETA Digital said they were 'saddened' by the news. 'Our memories of Andrew will always be of a wonderful and caring person who looked out for the technicians around him was keen to have a good laugh and keep everyone jollied along even when things were at the most stressful for everyone' owners Richard & Tania Taylor wrote on Facebook. 'What an incredible man and we are very fortunate to have had the chance to work with him on so many wonderful projects.' Lesnie's final work was Russell Crowe's 'The Water Diviner' which opened this past weekend in limited release. Crowe took to Twitter late Monday to express his condolences. Lesnie who lived in Sydney was also a frequent collaborator of director George Miller's. The duo worked together on the gritty 'Mad Max: Road Warrior' before shifting gears to make the family-friendly 'Babe' movies. In addition to winning Oscar Lesnie was feted in 2003 at the BAFTA Awards for his work on the 'Lord of the Rings' finale 'Return of the King' and in 1997 he received AFI's cinematography award for 'Doing Time For Patsy Cline.' A spokesman from the Cinematogra-phers Society in Australia said 'We have been advised of the sudden death of Andrew.' An official announcement is expected later Tuesday from his family. He is survived by his partner and two sons. Don M. Mankiewicz an Oscar-nominated screenwriter from a legendary Hollywood family who created the television shows 'Marcus Welby M.D.' and 'Ironside' has died in California. He was 93. Mankiewicz died Saturday of congestive heart failure at his home near Los Angeles his son John told the Los Angeles Times. The son of Herman J. Mankiewicz co-writer of 'Citizen Kane' Don Mankiewicz grew up in Beverly Hills where his parents' dinner guests included the Marx Brothers and Greta Garbo. His uncle was Joseph Mankiewicz director of 'All About Eve' and other classic films. After graduating from Columbia University in 1942 and serving in Army intelligence Don Mankiewicz became a staff writer for the New Yorker contributed to other magazines and started working in TV. Early in his TV career he wrote scripts for the drama series 'Playhouse 90.' He was assigned to adapt F. Scott Fitzgerald's 'The Last Tycoon' at least in part because he came of age during its old Hollywood setting the Times said. 'I was probably the only writer around who had actually seen Fitzgerald in person' he told TV historian Stephen Bowie in a 2007 oral history. 'He hung around with my father a little bit.' In 1954 Mankiewicz published the novel 'Trial' that was made into a film starring Glenn Ford and Dorothy McGuire. Mankiewicz earned an Academy Award nomination for his 1958 screenplay adaptation of 'I Want to Live!' about a prostitute falsely accused of murder. It was loosely based on the true story of Barbara Graham who was put to death in California's gas chamber in 1955 and was known in headlines as 'Bloody Babs.' At the same time he became active in Democratic Party politics. In 1952 he lost a race for the New York state Assembly but stayed involved in local and state politics for years. As a member of the Writers Guild of America Mankiewicz helped gain union representation for quiz-show writers the newspaper said. In 1967 he wrote the pilot for the long-running TV series 'Ironside' starring Raymond Burr as a paraplegic private investigator. Two years later he did the pilot for 'Marcus Welby M.D.' He contributed later episodes to both.
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