Legendary director of photography Conrad L. Hall died January 4 in Santa Monica, CA. The cause was complications from bladder cancer. He was 68.
One of the most famous practitioners of the craft of cinematography, he was born in Tahiti; his father was James Norman Hall, co-author of Mutiny on the Bounty Hall studied film at USC; with two other students from the USC film program, he produced a project, Sea Theme, which was sold to television. This led to work on such television series as Stoney Burke and The Outer Limits. His feature film career took off in 1965 with the drama Wild Seed. Before long, he was working on a string of hits that included the Paul Newman vehicles Harper (1966), Cool Hand Luke(1967), and Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969), as well as the new-wave Western The Professionals (1966). His eerie, black-and-white photography for In Cold Blood (1967) was one of his most notable achievements of this period.
Other films shot by Hall included Tell Them Willie Boy is Here (1969), Electra Glide in Blue (1973), The Day of the Locust (1975), Smile (1975), Marathon Man (1976), Black Widow (1987); American Beauty (1999); and Road to Perdition (2002). From the mid-70s to mid-80 he ran a commercial production company, in partnership with the DP Haskell Wexler.
Hall won two Academy Awards, for Butch Cassidy and American Beauty. In addition, the American Society of Cinematographers gave him a lifetime achievement award in 1994, plus outstanding achievement awards for the films Tequila Sunrise (1988), Searching for Bobby Fischer (1993), and American Beauty. Last year, he was Kodak cinematographer-in-residence at UCLA; he is scheduled later this month to receive lifetime achievement awards from the National Board of Review and the Palm Springs International Film Festival.
His first marriage, to the actress Katharine Ross, ended in divorce. He is survived by his second wife, Susan, and three children (one of whom, Conrad W. Hall, is also a DP), as well as a sister.