Oscar-nominated cinematographer Don Peterman dies at 79


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Cinematographer Don Peterman, who was nominated for an Academy Award for his work in 1983’s ‘Flashdance’ and 1986’s ‘Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home,’ has died. He was 79.

Peterman died Feb. 5 at his home in Palos Verdes Estates of complications from myelodysplastic syndrome, a form of leukemia, said his wife, Sally.


‘Flashdance’ starred Jennifer Beals as a welder and dancer who was trying to get into dance school. The movie with its glitzy images and memorable musical score showed how ‘to turn a rock video into a feature film,’ wrote critic Leonard Maltin in his ‘2006 Movie Guide.’ (The video accompanying this post includes some scenes from the movie.)

Peterman’s many film credits included ‘Splash’ in 1984, ‘Cocoon’ in 1985, ‘Point Break’ in 1991 and ‘Get Shorty’ in 1995.

Donald William Peterman was born Jan. 3, 1932, in Los Angeles and graduated from Redondo Beach Union High School. He served in the Army in the early 1950s, traveling the country working on an Army documentary, his wife said.

After the service, he started working at Hal Roach Studios as a film loader. Peterman’s first feature film credit as director of photography was ‘When a Stranger Calls’ in 1979.

Peterman was injured in 1997 during filming of ‘Mighty Joe Young’ when a crane holding a platform 18 feet off the ground snapped, sending the platform crashing to the ground. Peterman, who was on the platform, suffered a broken leg, broken ribs and head injuries, his wife said. A camera operator also was injured.

Peterman’s last film was ‘How the Grinch Stole Christmas’ in 2000.

In addition to his wife, Peterman is survived by daughter Diane Tschupp of Lafayette, Colo.; sons Keith of Palos Verdes Estates; Jay of Fountain Valley; Brad of Manhattan Beach; and 10 grandchildren. Services will be 1 p.m. March 3 at St. Cross by-the-Sea Espiscopal Churchin Hermosa Beach.


--Keith Thursby