[dropcap]L[/dropcap]egendary cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, who worked on films such as Dr. Strangelove and Star Wars, has passed away aged 99.
Taylor, who died last Friday, had an illustrious career spanning six decades, working with great directors such as Alfred Hitchcock, Roman Polanski and Stanley Kubrick. He framed many famous faces including Laurence Olivier, Harrison Ford, The Beatles and Peter Sellers since first sitting behind the camera in 1929.
Born in Bushey Heath in 1914, he began work at Gainsborough Studios before filming nighttime air raids during World War Two. He is survived by his wife Dee, whom he met in 1963. Dee has said he turned down the chance to work on a bond film, instead opting to work with one of his favourite directors Roman Polanski, with whom he worked on two films.
He has worked on the likes of A Hard Days Night, The Omen, Flash Gordon, Repulsion and Ice Cold in Alex but is best known for his work on Star Wars. Taylor, however, does not have fond memories of his time under George Lucas. “George avoided all meetings and contact with me from day one,” he told 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 cited his work on Kubrick’s Cold War satire Dr. Strangelove as his most cherished, claiming “Lighting that set was sheer magic,” and “I don’t quite know how I got away with it all.”
His understanding of tone and mastery of light and composition set him apart from his peers. In Taylor cinema has truly lost one of its special sons.