Influential and respected cinematographer Gilbert Taylor, whose career encompassed the likes of Dr. Strangelove, Star Wars and A Hard Day’s Night, has died at the age of 99.
Though he might be best remembered by fans for working on George Lucas’ original space fantasy, his career was long and fascinating, and saw him work with many of the world’s most respected directors. Born in Bushey Heath in 1914, he got his break into the film industry in 1929 at London’s Gainsborough Studios, where he began working as a camera assistant. While his career was interrupted by military service during World War II, he still managed to find a creative outlet, filming nighttime raids over Germany for the Royal Air Force.
Among the films he worked on either as Camera Assisstant or Cinematographer are such notable titles as Brighton Rock, The Outsider, Ice Cold In Alex, Repulsion, Cul-de-sac, Frenzy and Flash Gordon. He once turned down the chance to work on a Bond film to collaborate with Roman Polanski, and he cites his work on Stanley Kubrick's Dr. Strangelove as his happiest time on a stage. "Lighting that set was sheer magic," he told the BBC. "I don't quite know how I got away with it all."
He has said he’d much rather be remembered for that than his work on Star Wars, which he recalled wasn’t the most rewarding experience thanks to George Lucas’ uncommunicative ways. Still, his vision set the tone for the saga that followed.
In between films, he worked on adverts and TV, including such shows as The Avengers. He’s survived by his wife Dee Gilbert, who he met in 1963 working on Tony Hancock vehicle The Punch And Judy Man. They collaborated on many projects, including a dairy farm to tide them over when times were lean during the 1970s. He truly left his mark on the industry and will be much missed.