Was cinematographer on 'First Blood,' 'The Warriors'

Emmy-nominated cinematographer Andrew Laszlo, who shot “The Night They Raided Minsky’s,” “The Warriors,” “First Blood” and Star Trek V,” as well as the miniseries “Shogun,” died Oct. 7. He was 85.

Born in Papa, Hungary, Laszlo started as a camera apprentice at the Motion Picture Studios of Budapest when WWII began. He and his family were sent to a Nazi concentration camp, and he was the clan’s sole survivor; in 1947 he immigrated to the U.S. and became a freelance still photographer. Drafted into the U.S. Army, he served in the Signal Corps as a combat photographer during the Korean War.

After working for a producer of industrial films in Pittsburgh, he began work in television during the mid-’50s, at first as a camera operator on “The Phil Silvers Show.” He was cinematographer on “Naked City” in 1962-63 and later on the series “Coronet Blue.”

Laszlo made his feature d.p. debut on “One Potato, Two Potato,” shot the documentary “The Beatles at Shea Stadium” and then worked as with a young Francis Ford Coppola on the latter’s 1966 film “You’re a Big Boy Now.”

In 1968 he lensed William Friedkin’s “The Night They Raided Minsky’s.” From that point Laszlo was in demand as a cinematographer for more than two decades.

His next bigscreen projects included Arthur Hiller’s “The Out of Towners,” Herbert Ross’ “The Owl and the Pussycat” and “Somebody Killed Her Husband.” For TV his efforts included Delbert Mann’s 1973 telepic “The Man Without a Country,” drawing an Emmy nom; miniseries “The Dain Curse”; and epic mini “Shogun,” for which he picked up a second Emmy nom.

Laszlo shot three films for director Walter Hill: “The Warriors,” “Southern Comfort” and “Streets of Fire.”

Other bigscreen work during the 1980s included Sylvester Stallone starrer “First Blood,” MGM documentary “That’s Dancing!,” “Remo Williams: The Adventure Begins,” “Poltergeist II: The Other Side,” “Innerspace” and “Star Trek V: The Final Frontier.” His final films, in the early 1990s, were “Ghost Dad” and the musical “Newsies.”

Laszlo was busy in other spheres as well. He had formed Andrew Laszlo Prods. as a producer of commercials, and he taught other cinematographers. In addition, he was the author of several books, including, with Andrew Quicke, the text ” Every Frame a Rembrandt: Art and Practice of Cinematography” in 2000. His autobiography, “Footnote to History,” was published in 2002, and he also wrote a novel.

He is survived by his wife, Ann; three sons and a daughter; and five grandchildren.

Donations may be made to Hospice of Southwestern Montana or the Smile Train.

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