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Oscar-nominated Cinematographer Owen Roizman, Who Worked on ’The Exorcist’ & ‘The French Connection’, Passed Away at 86

Oscar-nominated Cinematographer Owen Roizman, Who Worked on ’The Exorcist’ & ‘The French Connection’, Passed Away at 86

The American Society of Cinematographers confirmed that five-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer Owen Roizman passed away at the age of 86. He died on Saturday due to a long battle with illness in his home in Los Angeles.

Owen Roizman
Owen Roizman dies at 86

Known for his works such as The Exorcist, The French Connection, and Network, Roizman was a legend in the field. In 2017, the cinematographer was given an honorary Oscar for his contributions and achievements. He retired from the business in the 1990s.

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Owen Roizman Made A Mark In Hollywood With His Unique Shooting Style

Owen Roizman earned his first Oscar nomination for the 1971’s The French Connection. It was his second film starring Gene Hackman. The cinematographer rose to fame because of his unique and gritty shooting style. In one of his interviews in 2017, Roizman told Los Angeles Times:

Immediately after ‘The French Connection,’ I got labeled as a gritty New York street photographer, which I thought was very funny because I had never shot anything like ‘The French Connection’ before that.”

Roizman explained that he just wanted to tell the narrative in the way he knew, surrounded by his family who also toiled in the industry. His father worked for Fox Movietone News, while his uncle was a movie editor.

The French Connection Owen Roizman
The French Connection (1971)

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The late cinematographer began his career as an assistant cameraman right after graduating from Gettysburg College in Pennsylvania. He finally got his big project with the 1970 movie Stop. It was only seen by a handful of people, including The French Connection’s producer Phil D’Antoni.

The Exorcist is one of Owen Roizman’s most notable and challenging works. He revealed that he had to capture and convey the cold temperature of a kid’s bedroom. The cinematographer had to be creative and innovative to achieve the desired effect.

A system was developed that could refrigerate the room quickly to any temperature from zero to 20 below. The breath showed up fine at zero, but Friedkin wanted the actors to really feel the cold because he felt that would help their acting.”

The effort was worth it in the end because Roizman received his second Oscar nomination. Later on, the cinematographer established his own company, Roizman & Associates, in 1976.

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Owen Roizman Turned Down Work For Spielberg’s Jaws

Owen Roizman
Owen Roizman

Owen Roizman’s passing left a dent in the filmmaking industry. He is one of the most sought-after cinematographers, even renowned directors seek his talent. He once revealed that he did not regret turning down Steven Spielberg’s blockbuster film Jaws.

According to Roizman, he and the director talked for hours on the phone, but he thought to himself, he would get on a boat most of the time. This did not sound like a fancy idea to him because he gets terrible sea sickness.

Had Owen Roizman accepted the role, fans would probably have had a different experience watching the shark thriller movie. The late cinematographer is survived by his wife and son, who also pursued a similar career in camera work.

Source: Los Angeles Times

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Written by Ariane Cruz

Content writer at FandomWire.