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Oscar-Winning Cinematographer Owen Roizman, Who Shot The Exorcist and Network, Dies at 86

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Cinematographer Owen Roizman, ASC, who was nominated for five Oscars during a career that ran from 1970 through 1994, passed away at the age of 86 on Friday, according to the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).

In 2017, Roizman was presented with an honorary Oscar for his achievements and contributions to the film industry, which included nine years of serving on the Academy’s Cinematographers Branch from 2002 to 2011, and represented the branch on the Board of Governors. He also received the Lifetime Achievement Award from ASC in 1997.

Born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, Roizman’s father, Sol Roizman, was a cameraman and his uncle, Morrie Roizman, made the 1954 Oscar-nominated doc short, Rembrandt: A Self Portrait. He worked in commercials before transitioning into film as a camera assistant on films like the 1963 thriller, Fail-Safe.

Roizman’s second feature film as a cinematographer was William Friedkin‘s The French Connection in 1971, which earned him his first of five Oscar nominations, and he’d go onto shoot such seminal ’70s films as Woody Allen‘s 1972 comedy, Play It Again, Sam; Friedkin’s The Exorcist (for which he earned a second Oscar nomination); The Taking of Pelham 1 2 3 in 1974; The Stepford Wives (1975); Three Days of the Condor (1975) – the first of five films with the late Sidney Pollack; and Network in 1977, for which he was also nominated. Roizman’s work continued into the ’80s, shooting classic films, such as Tootsie in 1982, for which he received a fourth nomination. His fifth nomination came in 1994 for his work on the Western, Wyatt Earp.

In 1972, Roizman also received an Emmy nomination for his cinematography on Liza Minelli‘s variety special, Liza with a Z, which was shot on film.

In 1983, Roizman returned to commercials, starting the company Roizman & Associates, producing, directing and shooting hundreds of commercials.

You can learn more about Roizman’s career on the Academy site, which includes testimonial from some of the actors his work inspired.

Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas
Edward Douglas has written about movies for print and the internet for over 20 years, specializing in box office analysis, reviews, and interviews. Currently, he writes features for Below the Line and Above the Line, acting as Associate Editor for the former and Interim Editor for the latter.
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