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William A. Fraker, a six-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer, died Monday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He was 86.
Fraker earned cinematography noms for “Looking for Mr. Goodbar” (1977), “Heaven Can Wait” (1978), “1941” (1980), “WarGames” (1983) and “Murphy’s Romance” (1985) as well as a visual effects mention for “1941.”
Fraker emerged as an influential cinematographer during the ’60s, with credits including 1968 pics “Bullitt” and “Rosemary’s Baby” and 1969’s “Paint Your Wagon.” He served as ASC president three times and received the ASC Lifetime Achievement Award in 2000.
Born and raised in Hollywood, Fraker served in the Navy during World War II, then enrolled in film school at USC assisted by the G.I. Bill of Rights. He taught at the school in recent years.
“William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC, embodied not only the consummate artistry that was necessary to become a legend in his craft but also the romance and glamour of making movies,” ASC president Michael Goi said.
“His presence was a reminder that we in the motion picture industry exist in a world of privilege, a world where one’s ability to visually depict the world as we would like it to be had value to an audience. His tireless devotion to informing and educating the next generations of cinematographers spoke to his desire that the industry never forget that we are dreamers, and that those dreams have significance. He will be missed but never forgotten.”
“Billy Fraker was the epitome of a Hollywood cinematographer,” ASC past president Richard Crudo added. “He was immensely talented, handsome and charismatic, and he has a body of work that was the envy of us all. We are always going to miss him.”
Fraker is survived by his wife, Denise.
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