British director Nicolas Roeg has died of natural causes. He was 90.
Roeg got his start in the British cinema in 1947, working his way up from “tea boy” to becoming a cinematographer. He was an assistant cinematographer on David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia and was hired as the main cinematographer on Lean’s follow up Doctor Zhivago, before being fired for creative differences. He would go on to act as cinematographer in movies such as Roger Corman’s The Masque of the Red Death, François Truffaut’s Fahrenheit 451, John Schlesinger’s Far from the Madding Crowd and Richard Lester’s Petulia.
In 1970, Roeg made his directorial debut with Performance, which starred Mick Jagger in his film debut as a reclusive rock star who gets mixed up with a tough gangster played by James Fox. Roeg followed that with 1971’s Walkabout, a story about a pair of children abandoned in the Australian Outback.
Next came Don’t Look Now in 1973, which starred Donald Sutherland and Julie Christie as distraught parents whose grief over losing their child leads them to a supernatural journey fraught with danger. The film is notorious to this day for its incredibly explicit sex scene which.
Roeg teamed with David Bowie for his next film, 1976’s The Man Who Fell to Earth, where Bowie played an alien who comes to Earth searching for water for his planet and ends up trapped here. The film would go on to become a cult classic and is often listed on the best Science-Fiction films of all time.
For a follow-up, Roeg teamed with another musician, Art Garfunkel, for 1980’s Bad Timing. Not as well received as some of his other movies, it is notable for being the first on screen pairing with Theresa Russell, who he would marry in 1982. The pair made six more films together-Eureka, Insignificance, Aria, Track 29, Cold Heaven and the 1995 short film, Hotel Paradise. They would later divorce.
He also bought Roald Dahl’s The Witches to the big screen in 1990, which would be his last picture at a major studio. His last film was 2007’s Puffball.