David Phillips, ‘The Basketball Diaries’ Cinematographer, Dies at 60

Basketball Diaries
Courtesy of New Line Cinema

Cinematographer David Phillips, who served as the DP on Leonardo DiCaprio’s 1995 film “The Basketball Diaries,” died Feb. 4 of natural causes in New York City, his family announced. He was 60.

After earning a bachelor’s degree in English from Boston University, Phillips spent his early years working on music videos including New Kids on the Block’s “Step by Step” and Cyndi Lauper’s “I Drove All Night.” He also shot several music documentaries, such as “Midnight Oil: Black Rain Falls” and “Cyndi Lauper: 12 Deadly Cyns… and Then Some.”

Phillips is additionally credited with filming Mark Wahlberg’s popular 1993 workout video “Form… Focus… Fitness, the Marky Mark Workout.”

His first major film was also DiCaprio’s first lead role: “The Basketball Diaries.” The adaptation of Jim Carroll’s autobiographical memoir, directed by Scott Kalvert, also starred a young Wahlberg.

He worked on both the 1996 HBO series “The High Life” and a few episodes of “Saturday Night Live” in the mid-2000s. Other film credits include 2001’s “Lift,” starring Kerry Washington; 2002’s “Martin & Orloff,” starring Ian Roberts and Matt Walsh; and 2006’s “Beer League,” written by and starring Artie Lange.

A native of New Haven, Connecticut, Phillips is survived by mother Beatrice, sister Nancy, brother James, a sister-in-law, a niece, and a nephew.

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