The holiday break was marred by the deaths of a number of entertainment fixtures, with Grammy-winning singer Natalie Cole, “M*A*S*H” star Wayne Rogers and famed cinematographers Vilmos Zsigmond and Haskell Wexler all dying.
Variety reports that Cole, known for hits including “This Will Be,” “I Live For Your Love” and “Unforgettable,” died of congestive heart failure Thursday night at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles. The daughter of Nat “King” Cole, Natalie Cole had recently canceled concerts as she struggled with liver disease, complications from a kidney transplant and hepatitis C. She was 65.
Rogers, who played Trapper John on “M*A*S*H” in the 1970s, also died Thursday in Los Angeles. The New York Times reports that Rogers, 82, died of complications from pneumonia.
Rogers’ “M*A*S*H” character and Hawkeye Pierce, played by Alan Alda, were named favorite television comedy duo in a TV Guide poll, The Times notes. Rogers also starred in the CBS medical sitcom “House Calls.”
The Hungarian-born Zsigmond, one of the most celebrated cinematographers in Hollywood history, reportedly died on New Year’s Day in Big Sur, Calif., at 85. Zsigmond won an Oscar for “Close Encounters of the Third Kind” (1977) along with nominations for “The Deer Hunter” (1978), “The River” (1984) and “The Black Dahlia” (2006).
Reporting on Zsigmond’s death, The Hollywood Reporter notes: “During a long, prolific career, he shot a wide array of films for top directors: ‘McCabe & Mrs. Miller’ (1971) and ‘The Long Goodbye’ (2002) for Robert Altman; ‘Blow Out’ and ‘The Bonfire of the Vanities’ (Brian De Palma); ‘The Deer Hunter’ and ‘Heaven’s Gate’ (Michael Cimino); ‘Maverick’ and ‘Assassins’ (Richard Donner); ‘Deliverance’ (John Boorman); ‘The Sugarland Express’ and ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’ (Steven Spielberg); ‘Melinda and Melinda,’ ‘Cassandra’s Dream’ and ‘You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger’ (Woody Allen); and ‘The River’ (Mark Rydell).”
The influential cinematographer Haskell Wexler, an Oscar winner for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” (1966) and “Bound for Glory” (1976), died Dec. 27 at his home in Santa Monica, Calif., CNN reports. He was 93.
In addition to his two Oscar wins, Wexler was also nominated for Oscars for “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest” (1975), “Matewan” (1987) and “Blaze” (1989). Known as one of the most important innovators in the field of cinematography, Wexler also produced and directed, and was the writer and director behind the groundbreaking 1969 feature “Medium Cool.”