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E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial

Moviemaking is a collaborative process, so while those in front of the camera are more well-known to the general public, there are plenty of integral jobs behind the scenes that need to be done for the final product to be completed. For movies like E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial and Empire of the Sun, Allen Daviau filled the crucial role of cinematographer, but sadly, word’s come in that he has passed away from COVID-19 complications at the age of 77.

This news comes food editor and writer Colma Andrews, who shared on Twitter that Allen Daviau, who he was friends with for almost 60 years, died at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Los Angeles after contracting the coronavirus. Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, confirmed that Daviau had died, saying in a statement (via Variety):

Allen was active in our society in many ways like chairing our membership committee for several years. Also, his commitment to teaching our craft and being very accessible for young cinematographers will forever be engraved in our memories. He will be remembered fondly for his sense of humor, his taste for the best of foods and his laugh that unmistakably marked his presence from far away.

As indicated by the movies mentioned earlier, Allen Daviau collaborated with director Steven Spielberg, whom he met in 1967. The two of them first worked together on a never-completed short film called Slipstream, and then on another short film called Amblin’, which resulted in Spielberg being signing a deal with Universal Pictures.

Allen Daviau went on to direct various commercials, documentaries, music videos and more, but he reunited with Steve Spielberg to be the cinematographer on 1982’s E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, for which he earned an Academy Award for Best Cinematography nomination. The two then reunited for Twilight Zone: The Movie with Daviau working with Spielberg on that feature’s “Kick the Can” portion, as well as with future Gremlins director Joe Dante on “It’s a Good Life.”

Steven Spielberg and Allen Daviau went on to work together on The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun, both of which netted Daviau more Academy Award nominations, among other accolades. Daviau’s other notable credits include Harry and the Hendersons, Defending Your Life, Fearless and Van Helsing, the latter of which was his final movie.

Allen Daviau is just one of numerous people in the entertainment industry who have died from COVID-19 complications, with others including The Dark Knight Rises actor Jay Benedict, dialect coach Andrew Jack, Jaws actress Lee Fierro and That Thing You Do! songwriter Adam Schlesinger. According to THR, Daviau is the fourth resident from the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital to die from the coronavirus.

We here at CinemaBlend offer our condolences to Allen Daviau’s family and friends. If you’re a big fan of one of his movies, feel free to share your thoughts on his work in the comments below.

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