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​Cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond dies at 85

A scene from Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind." Cinematography by Vilmos Zsigmond.

Columbia PIctures

LOS ANGELES - The legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, best known for "The Deer Hunter" and "Close Encounters of the Third Kind," has died.

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Vilmos Zsigmond on the set of "The Bonfire of the Vanities."
Warner Brothers

His business partner Yuri Neyman confirmed that Zsigmond died on Friday in Big Sur, California. He was 85.

The Hungarian-born Zsigmond helped define cinema's American New Wave in the 1970s through iconic collaborations and a preference for natural light.

He first gained renown for his collaboration with Robert Altman on classics "McCabe & Mrs. Miller" and "The Long Goodbye."

In addition to his work on Michael Cimino's classic "The Deer Hunter," for which he earned an Oscar nomination, Zsigmond also worked with Brian De Palma on a number of films including "Blow Out."

Zsigmond's sole Oscar win was for Steven Spielberg's "Close Encounters of the Third Kind."

Other credits include Spielberg's first feature, "The Sugarland Express"; "Deliverance"; "Cinderella Liberty"; "Winter Kills"; "Heaven's Gate"; "The River"; "The Witches of Eastwick"; "The Ghost and the Darkness"; "The Two Jakes"; the TV movie "Stalin" (for which he won an Emmy Award); and the miniseries, "The Mists of Avalon."