NEW YORK — Gordon Willis, the cinematographer responsible for stirring camera work in such film classics as the “Godfather” trilogy and several of Woody Allen’s best-known films, has died aged 82, Hollywood publications reported Sunday.
“This is a momentous loss,” American Society of Cinematographers President Richard Crudo told Deadline. “He was one of the giants who absolutely changed the way movies looked.”
Willis received an honorary lifetime achievement Oscar in 2010 and was nominated for best cinematography Academy Awards for Allen’s “Zelig” and “The Godfather: Part III.”
But his work was credited with lending unique, often stunning imagery to a roster of films ranging from the romance “Manhattan” and lavish musical “Pennies From Heaven” to the Watergate thriller “All the President’s Men.”
In thrillers such as Alan Pakula’s “The Parallax View” and “Klute,” for which Jane Fonda won her first Oscar, Willis’ camera work evoked a dreamlike, fugue state that critics credited with elevating the films to the status of classics.
The Queens, New York-born Willis worked often with “Godfather” director Francis Ford Coppola, Pakula and especially Allen, with whom he made eight films. His films with Allen included the black-and-white “Manhattan,” “Annie Hall,” “The Purple Rose of Cairo,” “Interiors,” “Stardust Memories” and “Broadway Danny Rose.”
His credits in the 1990s included “Presumed Innocent,” “Malice” and “The Devil’s Own,” the final film in a nearly three-decade career, which was also Pakula’s last directorial effort.