Richard E. Cunha

Cinematographer, director

Cinematographer and director Richard E. Cunha, known for his 1950s horror films, died Sept. 18 in Oceanside, Calif. Cunha died of heart failure Sept. 18 at his home in Oceanside, Calif. He was 83.

Cunha directed “Giant from the Unknown,” “She Demons,” “Missile to the Moon” and “Frankenstein’s Daughter,” released in 1958 and 59. All were made on shoestring budgets of $65,000 or less with six-day shooting schedules. In the 1960s, he directed “Girl in Room 13” and “Dog Eat Dog.”

Born in Honolulu, he served as an Army Air Forces cameraman during World War II and then started working in industrial films, commercials and television. His commercials for Admiral Radio and Television were among the first televised over Los Angeles’ first commercial TV station, KTLA.

As a cameraman, he shot the early TV shows “The Adventures of Marshal O’Dell” and “Captain Bob Steele and the Border Patrol.” He later served as a d.p. on TV series “Death Valley Days” and “Branded” before working as a director and cinematographer for Screen Gems’ commercial division.

Cunha is survived by his wife Kathryn; three sons; a daughter; a sister; seven grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

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