Cinematographer Zsigmond of ‘Deer Hunter,’ ‘Close Encounters’ fame is dead at 85


The legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, best known for “The Deer Hunter” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind,” has died.

His business partner, Yuri Neyman, confirmed that Zsigmond died on Friday in Big Sur, California. He was 85.

The Hungarian-born Zsigmond helped define cinema’s American New Wave in the 1970s through iconic collaborations and a preference for natural light. He first gained renown for his collaboration with Robert Altman on classics “McCabe & Mrs. Miller” and “The Long Goodbye.” In addition to his work on Michael Cimino’s classic “The Deer Hunter,” for which he earned an Oscar nomination, Zsigmond worked with Brian De Palma on a number of films including “Blow Out.”

Zsigmond’s sole Oscar win was for Steven Spielberg’s “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.”