Multiple Oscar nominee and BAFTA winner, cinematographer Allen Daviau passed away Wednesday due to COVID-19-related complications. He was 77. A long-time collaborator of Steven Spielberg, Daviau worked with the Oscar-winning director on his very first short film, Amblin. Daviau also served as cinematographer for Spielberg’s E.T, The Color Purple, and Empire of the Sun. He received three out of his five Oscar nods for these films. The other two came for Avalon and Bugsy, directed by another Academy Award-winner, Barry Levinson.
When Daviau fell very ill recently due to coronavirus-related complications, Spielberg sent a letter to his long-time friend, saying, “In 1968, Allen and I started our careers side by side with the short film Amblin. Allen was a wonderful artist but his warmth and humanity were as powerful as his lens. He was a singular talent and a beautiful human being.”
Daviau, who won a BAFTA for his work on Empire of the Sun, was bestowed the Lifetime Achievement award by the American Society of Cinematographers in 2007.
Expressing his condolences, Kees van Oostrum, president of the ASC, in a statement, said, “His commitment to teaching our craft and being very accessible for young cinematographers will forever be engraved in our memories. He will be remembered fondly for his sense of humor, his taste for the best of foods and his laugh that unmistakably marked his presence from far away.”
Adding that Daviau will be “missed so much”, van Oostrum said, “I am proud that we were able to host him during our 100-year celebration last year. He told me then that it was for him ‘one of the best of gifts life had to offer’. His smile that evening was affectionate and many of us were able to pay him respect.”One of Daviau’s final projects was the 2004 Stephen Sommers film, Van Helsing.Daviau breathed his last at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, where he lived.