Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” cinematographer dies at 59

Oscar-winning “Lord of the Rings” cinematographer dies at 59

PanARMENIAN.Net - Cinematographer Andrew Lesnie, whose career spanned nearly 40 years and included all of “The Lord of the Rings” and “The Hobbit” films, died of a heart attack on Monday. He was 59, Variety reports.

In addition to working with director Peter Jackson on J.R.R. Tolkien’s fantasy series, Lesnie was behind the camera for several blockbusters such as “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” and Will Smith’s “I Am Legend.”

In 2002, he won his first and only Oscar for lensing the original “Lord of the Rings” pic, “The Fellowship of the Ring.”

“I wouldn’t recommend that anyone do a trilogy,” he joked at the time.

After the “Lord of the Ring” franchise, Lesnie continued to partner with Jackson on “King Kong,” 2009’s “The Lovely Bones” and most recently, “The Hobbit” trilogy.

Jackson has yet to release an official statement on Lesnie’s passing, but the staff at his production house in New Zealand, WETA Digital, said they were “saddened” by the news.

“Our memories of Andrew will always be of a wonderful and caring person who looked out for the technicians around him, was keen to have a good laugh and keep everyone jollied along even when things were at the most stressful for everyone,” owners Richard & Tania Taylor wrote on Facebook.

“What an incredible man and we are very fortunate to have had the chance to work with him on so many wonderful projects.”

Lesnie’s final work was Russell Crowe’s “The Water Diviner,” which opened this past weekend in limited release.

Crowe took to Twitter late Monday to express his condolenseces.

Lesnie, who lived in Sydney, was also a frequent collaborator of director George Miller’s. The duo worked together on the gritty “Mad Max: Road Warrior” before shifting gears to make the family-friendly “Babe” movies.

In addition to winning Oscar, Lesnie was feted in 2003 at the BAFTA Awards for his work on the “Lord of the Rings” finale “Return of the King” and in 1997, he received AFI’s cinematography award for “Doing Time For Patsy Cline.”

A spokesman from the Cinematographers Society in Australia said “We have been advised of the sudden death of Andrew.” An official announcement is expected later Tuesday from his family.

He is survived by his partner and two sons.

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