Zsigmond, Vilmos

Zsigmond, Vilmos, 1930–2016, Hungarian-American cinematographer. As a film student in Budapest, he and fellow student (and later cinematographer) Laszlo Kovacs secretly filmed the street fighting as the Soviets crushed the 1956 anti-Communist Hungarian revolution; the footage they smuggled out was used in several documentaries. Zsigmond immigrated to the United States the following year, found work in low-budget movies, and became a citizen in 1962. In his work on feature films beginning in the early 1970s, he used mainly natural light and muted hues to create a realistic look in both outdoor and interior shots, and subsequently was important in forming the appearance of American motion pictures into the 21st cent. His breakthrough film was Robert Altman's elegiac Western McCabe and Mrs. Miller (1971). Subsequently working with some of Hollywood's best-known directors, he was the cinematographer for some 100 films. Among them were John Boorman's Deliverance (1972), Altman's The Long Goodbye (1973), Brian De Palma's Obsession (1973) and The Black Dahlia (2006), Steven Spielberg's Sugarland Express (1974) and Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977; Academy Award, Best Cinematography), Michael Cimino's The Deer Hunter (1978) and Heaven's Gate (1980), Martin Scorsese's The Last Waltz (1978), and Woody Allen's Melinda and Melinda (2004) and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger (2010). Zsigmond also worked in television on such shows as HBO's Stalin (1992, Emmy Award) and The Mists of Avalon (2001).

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