×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Cinematographer David Watkin dies

Worked on 'Chariots of Fire,' 'Out of Africa'

David Watkin, cinematographer of films including “Chariots of Fire” and “Out of Africa,” died of cancer Feb. 19 in Brighton, England. He was 82.

Known for the lush, painterly quality of his work, Watkin won the Oscar for photographing the expansive vistas of “Out of Africa” and helped create the iconic image of young male atheletes running along a beach in “Chariots of Fire.”

He often worked with directors including Richard Lester, Tony Richardson, for whom he shot “The Hotel New Hampshire” and Franco Zefferelli, for which he shot “Endless Love” and “Tea with Mussolini.”

Born in Margate, Kent, he served in WWII and then became a camera assistant for the railways, becoming director of photography for British Transport Films by the late 1950s. He started shooting commercials in 1960, where he met Lester.

Lester recruited him to work on the Palme D’or-winning “The Knack…and How to Get It.”

Watkin and Lester went on to work on the second Beatles film “Help,” “How I Won the War,” “The Bed-Sitting Room,” “The Three Musketeers,,” “The Four Musketeers,” “Robin and Marian” and “Cuba.”

As well as working with Hugh Hudson, who made his directorial debut on “Chariots Of Fire,” Watkin also collaborated with directors including Sidney Lumet with “Gloria,” Norman Jewison with “Moonstruck,” Mike Nichols with “Catch 22,” Ken Russell with “The Devils” and Barbra Streisand with “Yentl.”

He also shot the uncredited title sequence of the 1964 James Bond film “Goldfinger.”

Nicknamed Wendy by onset electricians, Watkin created a system of nighttime filming lights that simulate natural light, known as the Wendy light.

He is survived by his partner, Nick Hand.

Popular on Variety

More Film

  • Taiwanese director Fu Yue

    China, Taiwan in Film Awards Face-off With Roosters, Horses Scheduled on Same Day

    Despite rising political antagonism, China and Taiwan have for years been able to put aside their differences for a night of shared glitz and glamour at the annual Taipei-based Golden Horse Awards, known as Asia’s Oscars. But with cross-strait relations at a nadir, that’s about to change.  Chinese-language cinema is set for a showdown the [...]

  • Julia Roberts Harriet Tubman

    Studio Exec Suggested Julia Roberts Play Harriet Tubman, 'Harriet' Screenwriter Says

    Multi-talented multi-hyphenate Cynthia Erivo plays Harriet Tubman in Kasi Lemmons’ biopic “Harriet.” But according to “Harriet’s” screenwriter, Gregory Allen Howard, Julia Roberts — yes, white woman Julia Roberts — was once suggested by a studio executive to play the role. In a Q&A for “Harriet” studio Focus Features as well as a piece for the [...]

  • Atlantics

    Variety Names 10 Directors to Watch for 2020

    Before film critics start summing up the present year at the movies with a deluge of Top 10 lists, Variety gazes into the medium’s future by announcing its annual 10 Directors to Watch — a lineup of filmmaking talents who’ve stood out on the recent festival circuit, or whose movies will soon be hitting screens [...]

  • Napa Valley Film Festival Winners: 'Lucky

    'Lucky Grandma' Wins Napa Valley Film Festival Narrative Feature Prize

    “Lucky Grandma,” “The Remix: Hip Hop in Fashion” and “The Nomads” were among the winners of the Napa Valley Film Festival, which ran Nov. 13-17 in various towns in the valley. The winner of the narrative feature was “Lucky Grandma,” presented by ZD Wines, which won a $10,000 cash prize, courtesy of Meadowood Napa Valley. [...]

  • Brad Pitt stars in “Ad Astra”.

    Brad Pitt's 'Ad Astra' to Blast Off in China in December

    The Brad Pitt sci-fi blockbuster “Ad Astra” is set to take off in Chinese theaters Dec. 6, more than two months after its U.S. launch. Directed, co-written and produced by James Gray (“The Lost City of Z,” “Two Lovers”), the thriller also stars Tommy Lee Jones, Liv Tyler, Donald Sutherland and Ruth Negga. Pitt plays [...]

  • Fred Wolf to Direct 'Love 40'

    Film News Roundup: Fred Wolf to Direct Tennis Rom-Com 'Love 40'

    In today’s film news roundup, Fred Wolf is directing a romantic comedy in New York; Leah Remini, Chinoye Chukwu, Marielle Heller and Lulu Wang receive honors; and the topless bar documentary “Red Dog” finds a home. ‘LOVE 40’ Bluewater Lane Productions has brought on Fred Wolf to co-write and direct the romantic comedy “Love 40,” [...]

  • Doppelgänger Red (Lupita Nyong'o) and Adelaide

    Lupita Nyong'o Follows Hollywood's Tradition of Two Roles in One Film

    Peter Sellers played three roles in Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 “Dr. Strangelove.” In December of that year, Variety reported that Columbia was mounting an Oscar campaign for lead actor, but was also considering three supporting-actor campaigns, for each of his characters. (They settled on one campaign, and Sellers’ nomination as lead actor was one of the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content