Michael Chapman, the cinematographer who lensed classics like “The Fugitive” and “Raging Bull, died on Sunday. His spouse, screenwriter Amy Holden Jones made the announcement on Twitter. Chapman was 84.
“Goodbye to the love of my life. Michael Chapman Sept 20 2020”
Goodbye to the love of my life. Michael Chapman Sept 20 2020 https://t.co/rkhyjGjkMd
— Amy Holden Jones (@aholdenj) September 21, 2020
Chapman acquired two Oscar nominations for greatest cinematography for his work on each “Raging Bull” and “The Fugitive.” In 2004, Chapman acquired a lifetime achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers.
“I consider myself so fortunate to have been able to work with Michael Chapman. Michael and I made three films together–‘Taxi Driver,’ ‘The Last Waltz’ and ‘Raging Bull,’ and he brought something rare and irreplaceable to each of them,” Martin Scorsese stated in an announcement Tuesday on Chapman’s passing.
He continued: “I remember when ‘Taxi Driver’ came out and Michael became known as a “poet of the streets”–I feel that was the wording, and it appeared proper to me. Michael was the one who actually managed the visible palette of ‘The Last Waltz,’ and on ‘Raging Bull’ he and his workforce met each single problem–and there have been so many. One of the best of these challenges was capturing in black and white, which Michael had by no means achieved earlier than, a reality that also astonishes me. His relationship with the digital camera and the movie that was operating by means of it was intimate, mysterious, virtually mystical. He was a terrific artist, and it saddens me that I received’t get to see him once more.”
Other notable credit Chapman earned as director of images embrace “Scrooged,” “Ghostbusters II,” “Kindergarten Cop,” “Doc Hollywood” and “Space Jam.”
In 1987, Chapman was additionally the cinematographer on Michael Jackson’s 18 minute “Bad” music video which was directed by Martin Scorsese.
Chapman was born in New York City on Nov. 21, 1935, and first began working in movie manufacturing as a digital camera operator on movies akin to “The Landlord” for Hal Ashby, “The Godfather” for Francis Ford Coppola, and “Jaws” for Steven Spielberg.
Chapman would finally make the leap from digital camera operator to director of images for Ashby’s “The Last Detail,” after which shot movies like “The Front” for Martin Ritt and “Fingers” for James Toback.
Chapman would finally direct a single function starring a younger Tom Cruise in 1983’s “All the Right Moves.”
Chaman is survived by Jones and son Andrew Chapman.
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