Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Richard H. Kline died Tuesday in Los Angeles. He was 91.
Over the course of his career, Kline worked on films such as “Hang ’em High,” “The Boston Strangler,” “The Andromeda Strain,” “The Mechanic,” and “Battle for the Planet of the Apes.”
In between features, he shot shorts for the Three Stooges. “They were terrific fellows,” he told American Cinematographer. “Jules White was the main director, and what was really funny was his seriousness as a director — one would think he was directing Shakespeare.”
The recipient of the 20th annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Award also served as D.P. or cinematographer on “Soylent Green,” “Mr. Majestyk,” “The Fury,” “Who’ll Stop the Rain,” “Star Trek — The Motion Picture,” “Breathless,” “Body Heat,” “All of Me,” and “The Competition.”
A member of the American Society of Cinematographers and the Academy, Kline assisted and operated on more than 200 motion pictures before becoming a DP in 1963.
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His first time on a film set was at the age of 7, as he is the fourth member of his family to be a part of the ASC. In addition to his uncle Philip Rosen, who co-founded the ASC in 1919 and became its first president, he said: “My father, Benjamin, was a member, and my other uncle, Sol Halperin, was also a president. I guess you could say I was genetically predestined to become a cameraman.”
He shared that “after I graduated from high school in 1943, my father got me into the camera department at Columbia Pictures.” With World War II raging, his father figured that the experience could qualify his son to work on a camera unit when he entered the service. Kline joined the U.S. Navy in 1944 and stayed until mid-1946. Upon his return, he began working as an assistant at Columbia.
Kline is survived by his children Paul Kline and Rija Kline Zucker and four grandchildren.