Isleworth, England--Freddie Francis, best known as an Academy
Award-winning cinematographer, but best known to MSTies as the
director of the movie in episode 905- THE DEADLY BEES, died here
March 17, due to complications from the stroke he suffered in
December. He was 89.
Born in London in 1917, Francis got into the movie business as an
apprentice to a feature stills photographer. During World War II, he
worked as a cameraman and director making training films. After the
war his reputation as a camera operator grew following his work with
John Huston on "Moulin Rouge" (1952), "Beat the Devil" (1953) and
"Moby Dick" (1956). His best-known films from that era include "Room
at the Top" (1958) and "Saturday Night and Sunday Morning" (1960).
He won his first cinematography Oscar® for 1960's "Sons and Lovers"
In the early '60s he turned his hand to directing, helming a number
of horror movies including "Paranoiac," "Dr. Terror's House of
Horrors" "Nightmare," "The Evil of Frankenstein," "Dracula Has Risen
from the Grave" and "Tales from the Crypt," as well as THE DEADLY
BEES. But finding himself confined to the horror genre, he returned
to cinematography in 1980 when David Lynch hired him for "The
Elephant Man." That work led to jobs work on 1981's "The French
Lieutenant's Woman" in 1981 and 1991's "Cape Fear." He also worked
with Lynch two more times, on 1984'sr "Dune" and 1999's "The
Straight Story." Nearly three decades after won his first Oscar, he
won his second for 1989's "Glory."
The American Society of Cinematographers honored him with its
International Achievement Award in 1997.
Francis is survived by his second wife, Pamela Mann, and their two
children, Suzanna and Gareth, and another son, Kevin Francis, from
his marriage to Gladys Dorrell, which ended in divorce.