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Kent Lon Wakeford, who served as director of photography on the Martin Scorsese films Mean Streets and Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, has died. He was 92.
Wakeford died Saturday at the Motion Picture Film & Television Fund’s Wasserman Campus in Woodland Hills, his family announced. No cause of death was specified.
Born on Jan. 23, 1928, he launched his career in the early 1950s on leaving the military and returning to Los Angeles, where he worked as a freelance cameraman for the near-reality program Danger Is My Business.
Over the next two decades, Wakeford’s career in film and TV ranged from art house and bigger-budget features to animation and commercial production.
He co-founded the commercial production house Wakeford/Orloff Productions and filmed social impact documentaries in South America with Willard Van Dyke and support from the Rockefeller Foundation.
His collaboration with Scorsese began with the 1973 classic Mean Streets, which starred Harvey Keitel and Robert De Niro and had Wakefield serving as the cinematographer.
Film critic and former writer for The New Yorker Pauline Kael wrote of that movie: “Martin Scorsese’s Mean Streets is a true original of our period, a triumph of personal filmmaking. It has its own hallucinatory look; the characters live in the darkness of bars, with lighting and color just this side of lurid. It has its own unsettling episodic rhythm and a high-charged emotional range that is dizzyingly sensual.”
In 1997, Mean Streets was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being “culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant.”
Wakeford also served as DP on Alice Doesn’t Live Here Anymore, the 1974 drama that starred Ellen Burstyn and Kris Kristofferson.
He is survived by his children, Kathryn, Kristian and Kent, and many grandchildren.
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