Allen Daviau, the hugely celebrated cinematographer who worked on Steven Spielberg film E.T., has died aged 77.
Daviau, who also worked on 1985 from The Color Purple and 1987 project Empire of the Sun, was nominated five times for an Academy Award throughout his illustrious career.
“Allen was diagnosed about a week ago and went to West Hills Hospital because of underlying conditions,” Bob Beitcher, MPTF president and CEO told Deadline. “In the last few days, as his condition went downhill and it was clear that he wasn’t going to survive, his friends and healthcare advocates and our staff worked to bring him back to MPTF, because he wanted to die at home. This had been his home for the last eight years.”
It continued: “When Allen arrived back home, we got the most beautiful letter from Steven Spielberg, which he asked to be read to Allen. So it was read to him continuously for the last day and a half until he passed. It was by his bedside, and as caregivers came in to check on him, they would read it to him. And each time, he got a little smile on his face. The last night, the nurse on call was a first-timer – it was her first night at MPTF – and she came to Allen’s bedside, saw the letter, and started reading it to him. And when she got to the end, she looked at him; he took two breaths, and passed away. She was discovering who he was as he was leaving the world.”
It was confirmed that Daviau died on April 15, 2020, at the age of 77 as a result of complications from COVID-19 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital. Reacting to the news, Spielberg released a statement: “Allen and I started our careers side by side,” the director in a letter. “[he] was a wonderful artist, but his warmth and humanity were as powerful as his lens. He was a singular talent and a beautiful human being.”
Daviau, born in New Orleans in 1942, was raised in Los Angeles where he first met Spielberg in the 1960s. “Steven had seen some of my 16mm work,” he said in a past interview.
“He and I shared a great love of movies.”