Ric Waite, cinematographer of films including “Footloose,” “48 Hrs.,” “Red Dawn” and “The Long Riders,” died Saturday, Feb. 18, in Los Angeles of natural causes. He was 78.
For his work in television, Waite earned four Emmy nominations, including a win in 1976 for the NBC miniseries “Captains and the Kings.”
Waite began as a still photographer. At the New York City photography studio he owned, he did fashion and advertising work for magazines including GQ, Vogue, Glamour, Seventeen and Playboy and advertisers such as Jaguar and DuPont.
He moved to Los Angeles in 1970 and began work as a cinematographer. Waite initially worked in television, lensing episodes of series including “Emergency!,” “Police Story” and “City of Angels” as well as numerous telepics, including “Tail Gunner Joe” (for which he received an Emmy nom), “The Life and Assassination of the Kingfish” (another Emmy nom), “Dead of Night” and “Amateur Night at the Dixie Bar and Grill.”
He scored his final Emmy nom for a much later effort, the 1996 TNT telepic “Andersonville.”
Waite successfully transitioned to bigscreen work with the critically lauded Walter Hill Western “The Long Riders” in 1979. Among the features he shot were Hill’s “Brewster’s Millions,” starring Richard Pryor and John Candy; Carl Reiner’s “Summer Rental,” with Candy; Nicholas Meyer’s “Volunteers,” starring Tom Hanks and Candy; “Cobra,” starring Sylvester Stallone; Chris Columbus’ “Adventures in Babysitting”; and a number of films starring Steven Seagal.
Richard Waite was born in Sheboygan, Wisc. After high school he joined the Air Force and flew with the Photo Intelligence group.
Waite was a member of the American Society of Cinematographers.
In 2002 he moved to the Denver area, where he taught cinematography and lighting at the Colorado U. Film School.
In recent years Waite shot the films “Best Ribs in Town” and “Assassins’ Code,” and he was set as director of photography on the film “Legacy,” which is in pre-production.
Waite is survived by his wife of 48 years, Judy; a son; and a daughter.