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.