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Vilmos Zsigmond, Oscar-Winning Cinematographer, Dead At 85

Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, who won an Oscar for his work on Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” has died. He was 85 years old.

Zsigmond, who was born in Szeged, Hungary, died on New Year’s Day, Deadline reported. His business partner and friend Yuri Neyman confirmed the news on Facebook on Sunday afternoon.

Throughout his career, Zsigmond was also nominated for Academy Awards for Michael Cimino’s “The Deer Hunter” (1978), Mark Rydell’s “The River” (1984) and Brian De Palma’s “The Black Dahlia” (2006).

He became well-known after working on a group of movies in the 1970s including Robert Altman’s “McCabe and Mrs. Miller,” “Images” and “The Long Goodbye.”

Before becoming one of the most important cinematographers in the industry, Zsigmond worked as a photographer and lab technician in the 1960s. He was first credited as a cinematographer on the 1963 cult film “The Sadist.” Through the end of the decade he continued to work on exploitation films, horror films and low-budget comedies, such as “Tales of a Salesman” (1965) and “The Monitors” (1969).

In more recent years, Zsigmond worked on three Woody Allen films, including 2010’s “You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger,” and also shot a number of episodes of Mindy Kaling’s “The Mindy Project” between 2012 and 2014.

Zsigmond ranked among the top 10 most influential cinematographers in the history of film in a 2003 survey conducted by the International Cinematographers Guild.

He was also honored with lifetime achievement awards from the American Society of Cinematographers in 1999 and Poland’s Camerimage festival in 1997.

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