Michael Gershman, 'Buffy the Vampire Slayer' Cinematographer, Dies at 73

Courtesy of Jeff Gershman
Michael Gershman

The Vilmos Zsigmond protege also directed episodes of the Sarah Michelle Gellar series and worked on 'Crossing Jordan' as well.

Michael Gershman, an Emmy-nominated cinematographer who shot and directed episodes of Buffy the Vampire Slayer and Crossing Jordan, has died. He was 73.

Gershman was found dead on March 10 at his home in Malibu, his brother, Jeff Gershman, told The Hollywood Reporter. The cause of death was unknown.

Early in his career, Gershman served as a camera assistant to Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond on films including The Deer Hunter (1978), The Rose (1979), Heaven's Gate (1980), Blow Out (1981), The River (1984) and Fat Man and Little Boy (1989).

Gershman worked on Buffy, starring Sarah Michelle Gellar, during the first five seasons of the WB Network-UPN series, from 1997 through 2001, and received his Emmy nom for a 2000 episode. He then shot NBC's Crossing Jordan, starring Jill Hennessy, throughout its first two seasons, starting in 2001.

Gershman also directed 10 episodes of Buffy and 11 of Crossing Jordan.

A son of Edward Gershman, a producer on Mr. Magoo short films, Gershman was born on June 17, 1944, raised in St. Louis and graduated from Ladue Horton Watkins High School. He came to Los Angeles when he was about 19 and worked for an uncle, Wally Bulloch, who had a company that manufactured cameras for animation projects.

Gershman went on to gain credits as a camera assistant, assistant cameraman or camera operator on features like The Gauntlet (1977), The Golden Child (1986), Midnight Run (1988), Die Hard 2 (1990) and Losing Isaiah (1995) before becoming a TV cinematographer and director.

An avid woodworker, he retired a few years ago.

Survivors also include his wife Cecilia, daughters Lauren and Abigail and mother Doreen, 101. His brother worked for years in Hollywood as an assistant cameraman as well.