Laszlo Kovacs

Laszlo Kovacs

BEVERLY HILLS, CA--Laszlo Kovacs, one of Hollywood's most influential and respected directors of photography, died July 22 at his home here. He was 74. He worked on more than 70 films, including "Easy Rider," "Five Easy Pieces," "Shampoo," "Paper Moon," "Ghost Busters" and "Miss Congeniality, " but MSTies will remember his work on one of his more dubious efforts, the movie in episode 812- THE INCREDIBLY STRANGE CREATURES WHO STOPPED LIVING AND BECAME MIXED-UP ZOMBIES, which he shot with lifelong friend, fellow Hungarian and fellow cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond. He and Zsigmond escaped to the west bearing 30,000 feet of footage of the Hungarian revolt against the communist regime. That film became a well-remembered CBS documentary narrated by Walter Cronkite.

His big break was when Dennis Hopper asked him to shoot his gritty 1969 counterculture opus "Easy Rider." From there he worked on Kovacs worked with many of the leading directors, including Peter Bogdanovich, Martin Scorsese and Robert Altman.

In 1998, he received two Lifetime Achievement Awards for cinematography: one at the Hawaii International Film Festival and one at CamerImage, the International Film Festival of the Art of Cinematography, in Torun, Poland.

In 2002, he received the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award, the organization's highest honor.

The 2008 ASC Student Awards will be known as the Laszlo Kovacs Student Heritage Award.

Kovacs is survived by his wife, Audrey; two daughters, Julianna and Nadia; and a granddaughter, Mia.