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As I watched the BAFTA awards on Sunday night, during the moving section on lead…



As I watched the BAFTA awards on Sunday night, during the moving section on leading industry figures who have passed away, a picture and acknowledgement of cinematographer Walter Lassally (1926 – 2017) appeared. I interviewed Walter in comical circumstances just over two years ago, ostensibly to talk about the paintings, life and untimely death of Peter Campbell: his friend, lifelong cohabiter, and the husband of his agent Kate Campbell. Kate had just died and Walter agreed to be filmed providing I went immediately, as he was moving to Greece from the 11th century abbey in Suffolk that he, Peter and Kate had occupied for 40 years the following day. I left forthwith believing that Walter had said he’d act as cameraman using some of his industry equipment and with Walter believing that I had said I’d bring a cameraman and our own equipment. So upon arrival we realised neither had either, and all we had was his very old camcorder. Walter won an Oscar in 1965 for his work on ‘Zorba the Greek’ starring Anthony Quinn. He had filmed over 50 films in a career spanning as many years, including films such as ‘The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner’, ‘A Taste of Honey’, ‘Tom Jones’ and ‘Pleasantville’ to name but a few, and he worked with such leading Hollywood lights as Katherine Hepburn (twice), Orson Welles, Rod Steiger, Donald Sutherland, Tom Courtney, Christopher Plummer and even Rachel Welch. We chatted for about two hours and he was utterly engaging. Having discussed Peter Campbell’s work, life and death, as well as the curious living arrangements between the three of them, I soon realised that Walter was more than happy to answer any question on Hollywood life that I cared to ask, with a refreshing honesty and directness. Having been tentative at first, I soon deduced that the more direct the question, the more he respected it and rewarded it with a direct and honest answer. And so with apologies for the decidedly ‘un’Hollywoodlike production values, and in memory of one of the great cinematographers of our time, and of a highly rewarding afternoon, here’s Walter answering my question about his 2013 acting ‘debut’ in ‘Before Midnight’ with Ethan Hawke and Julie Delpy. For more information on the work of Peter Campbell please visit our website.




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