The long life and earthly career of Bill Butler, the great American director of photography nominated for an Oscar for One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest but also famous for Jaws and other films, ended on April 5th.
The great American cinematographer died on Wednesday 5 April, at the ripe old age of 101 (two days before his 102nd birthday!) Bill Butlerfamous for its collaboration a The shark e Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nestwhich earned him an Oscar nomination. Let’s take a look at the career of this extraordinary professional, who has lighted many famous film and television works and has also won an Emmy.
Bill Butler’s career
Born April 7, 1921 in Colorado, Bill Butler he grew up in Iowa, where he graduated as an engineer, and later moved to Indiana and then to Chicago, where he worked at television station WGN-TV as a video operator for commercials and local programs. There he met William Friedkinwhich involved him in his first documentaries which was the debut of both, The People vs. Paul Crump, which earned the prisoner unjustly sentenced to death the revision and conversion of the sentence. There are many films that in a career that lasted 54 years, from 1962 to 2016, have benefited from Butler’s experience and skill. Among them of course there is The shark Of Steven Spielberg. When in 2003 Butler was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award by the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC), on the occasion the director, recalling the troubled making of the film, wrote him these beautiful words: “You were calm before, during and after every storm on the set of Jaws. Without your zen-like confidence and wonderful sense of humor, I would have gone, like all the rest of the Jaws crew, out of my mind. Congratulations on this well deserved Lifetime Achievement Award from your peers . All the best, Steven.”
The Oscar nomination and the BAFTA, Bill Butler however, he got them for his splendid photograph of Someone flew over the cuckoo’s nest. She also won an Emmy for television Raid on Entebbe e A tram called desire (1984). Among others, sometimes famous films illuminated by the lights of him we remember I’m not coming home tonight, The conversation, Capricorn One, Damien’s Curse, Grease, Rocky II, Rocky III e Rocky IV, Flipper, Dark Skies, Anaconda, Frailty. On TV, Bill Butler was also cinematographer of Bramble birds. His contribution to the art of cinema in the twentieth century is truly an invaluable treasure.