John Alonzo, Oscar-nominated cinematographer and director of photography whose career began with Roger Corman’s “Bloody Mama” and has included “Sounder,” and “Star Trek: Generations,” died Tuesday. He was 66.
Alonzo, who received a best cinematography Oscar nomination for Roman Polanski’s “Chinatown” in 1975, began his film career as an actor. After a small role in 1960’s “The Magnificent Seven” and larger roles in lesser-known films, Alonzo put acting on the backburner because his blooming still photography career was paying most of the bills.
His big break in the field came as a camera operator on John Frankenheimer’s “Seconds” (1966) and, after his stint with Corman, Alonzo worked as a director of photography on films including “Vanishing Point,” “Harold and Maude” and 1972’s “Lady Sings the Blues,” which gave him the opportunity to use extra lighting effects.
His first collaboration with director Martin Ritt resulted in 1972’s “Pete ‘n’ Tillie.” That same year, he also teamed with Brian DePalma on “Get to Know your Rabbit.” He also photographed parts of Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”
Alonzo directed his first feature, “FM” in 1978 and the following year reunited with Ritt for “Norma Rae.” He also filmed “Tom Horn” that same year. In 1983 he reteamed with DePalma on the remake of “Scarface.”