On Oct. 10, the director of photography died at the Motion Picture and Television Fund’s Wasserman Campus. His film career began after a brief stint as a cameraman for the Douglas Aircraft Company and two years of service as motion picture cameraman in the U.S. Army’s Signal Corp.
Upon moving to Los Angeles, he took up a freelance job working the reality show “Danger is My Business.” His first credit on a major film came in 1973 when he served as the director of photography on “Mean Streets,” which he earned praise for his handheld camera that soon became popular throughout the film industry.
The Library of Congress selected “Mean Streets” to be preserved in the United States National Film Registry in 1997, in part due to its aesthetic significance.
Wakeford went on to collaborate with Scorsese again on the 1974 film “Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore,” and his career continued up through the end of the 1990s. In that time, he worked on animated projects, art house films and documentaries.
His other cinematography credits include “Ironheart,” the “L.A. Law” series, and “Some Folks Call it a Sling Blade,” the short on which “Sling Blade” was based.
Advertising was also an aspect of the cinematographer’s diverse projects. He co-founded Wakeford / Orloff Productions and worked on commercials for Budweiser, McDonald’s, Mattel, Boeing and more. He also founded Kent Wakeford and Associates, another commercial production company.
But aside from his career in cinematography, he also engaged in various other interests. As a vintage car collector, he judged the Pebble Beach Concours d’Elegance — part of the Monterey Car Week — for almost 30 years. Wakeford was also known to be proficient in archery.
He is survived by his three children Kathryn, Kristian and Kent, as well as his grandchildren.