I am very sad to report that the kind, giving, and immensely talented Laszlo Kovacs, ASC passed away Sunday in Los Angeles at the age of 74.
Some of his landmark pictures included Easy Rider, Five Easy Pieces, Shampoo, Paper Moon, and New York, New York, to name but a few. He was the recipient of the 2002 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award, their highest honor. Without a doubt one of the most beloved and active members of the American Society of Cinematographers, he headed the Education Committee and was a long time member of the Board. He would often volunteer to share with emerging Cinematographers the wisdom and technique he acquired over his long career at programs such as AFI and UCLA Extension. I cherish a seminar he taught which I attended some twenty years ago where I picked-up tips which I continue to use practically every time I shoot.
He was to have participated in last year’s ASC/DCS Lighting Workshop, but actually stopped by the afternoon before, (on his way to the hospital), to offer his regrets in person. It was no secret there were some health issues, but it never seemed to slow him down for long. I last saw him while he was representing the ASC at Cine Gear Expo as he sat for hours sharing stories with an eager audience of young Filmmakers. Yes, he loved to tell stories, and he had a fascinating life from which to draw material.
The Hungary-born cinematographer escaped his homeland in 1957 with his lifelong friend, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC during an uprising against the communist regime which they had documented on film. They smuggled thousands of feet of this film over the border and made their way to the US as political refugees. DCS member, James Chressanthis, ASC, is currently in production of a documentary chronicling the remarkable lives and careers of these two great Cinematographers. Laszlo will be greatly missed by the entire Entertainment Industry, especially those with a love and appreciation for great Cinematography. Sadly,
James Mathers – Digital Cinema Society