Cinematographer Steve Yaconelli died in an accident while scuba diving in Bocas del Torro, Panama, on Oct. 29. He was 62.
Yaconelli, the grandson of writer-producer-director Harry L. Fraser, was an L.A. native who attended San Diego State, getting his degree in telecommunications. He joined Col’s camera dept. in 1967, quickly moving to assistant cameraman on such shows as the TV adaptation of “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” “Two for Tahiti,” “The Young Rebels” and “Papillon.”
He was camera operator on the “Rockford Files” skein for several seasons and took that experience to bigscreen productions “Animal House,” “Blues Brothers,” “Cat People,” “Footloose” and War Games,” on which he also served as camera operator.
He moved up to cinematographer in 1985, lensing feature “Jackals” and miniseries “The Long Hot Summer.” He often collaborated with helmer Tony Richardson, shooting several minis for him and his last feature, “Blue Sky.” Other lensing credits include “Karate Kid III,” “The Temp” and “Gross Anatomy.”
He returned to TV in the late ’90s to shoot and direct for episodics “Dark Skies” and “Soldier of Fortune, Inc.”
He was also second-unit helmer on numerous films, including “Continental Divide,” “Dennis the Menace” “Switchback” and “Bram Stoker’s Dracula.”
In 1996 Haskell Wexler nominated Yaconelli for membership in the American Society of Cinematographers.
He is survived by wife Arlene and two children: daughter Loren, the “A” camera 1st assistant on “Without a Trace,” and son Bryan, exec director of production finance at MGM.