Gilbert Taylor, the veteran British cinematographer who shot Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb and Star Wars, died Friday at his home on the British Isles at the age of 99, according an interview his wife Dee gave to the BBC.
Born April 21, 1914 in England, Taylor began as a camera assistant in 1930 on the Tom Walls pic One Embarrassing Night (original title: Rookery Nook) and contributed to a slew of other British productions. World War II would interrupt his early career, though. Taylor served six years with the Royal Air Force, but would go on to work as the Director of Photography for some of the most respected directors in the business over the course of his almost 65 year career.
A back-to-back collaboration with Roman Polanski would result in Taylor’s only significant awards recognition, with two BAFTA nominations for his work on the 1965 thriller Repulsion with Catherine Deneuve, and the 1966 masterpiece Cul-de-Sac. Taylor also shot Polanski’s 1971 take on Macbeth. In addition to shooting Dr. Strangelove for Stanley Kubrick, The Omen for Richard Donner, Alfred Hitchcock’s Frenzy, and the Beatles pic A Hard Day’s Night for director Richard Lester, Taylor was perhaps best known for lensing the original Star Wars for George Lucas.
He also had a number of television credits, including The Avengers.
Taylor was a founding member of the British Society of Cinematographers, who presented him a lifetime achievement award in 2001. His last credited work was the 1994 film Don’t Get Me Started.