PASSINGS: Jim Brothers, Gilbert Taylor, Lew Wood, Allen Lanier, Norman Winter

Jim Brothers

Created bronze sculptures on display across U.S.


Jim Brothers, 72, a Kansas artist whose bronze sculptures are on display in the nation's capital and at historical monuments around the country, died Tuesday at his home in Lawrence, Kan., where he had been receiving hospice care, said Audrey Bell, a funeral director at Warren McElwain Mortuary in Lawrence, Kan. Friends and colleagues said he had cancer.

Brothers was best known for two projects: creating a sculpture of Dwight D. Eisenhower that's on display at the Capitol in Washington, and as the chief sculptor for the National D-Day Memorial in Bedford, Va., said Paul Dorrell, who represented Brothers and owns the Leopold Gallery in Kansas City.

Another of his notable monuments was one honoring the Civilian Conservation Corps in Griffith Park, replacing the original "Iron Mike" statue crafted by John Palo Kangas. That was followed by a monument of Mark Twain in Hartford, Conn., where Twain lived for about two decades. Along the way, companies, including Boeing, and well known private individuals, including filmmaker Steven Spielberg, the late "Peanuts" creator Charles Schulz and the late historian Stephen Ambrose, also acquired pieces from Brothers.

Gilbert Taylor

Cinematographer for first 'Star Wars' film

Gilbert Taylor, 99, a British cinematographer known for his work on George Lucas' first "Star Wars" film in 1977 as well as projects for directors Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick and Roman Polanski, died Friday at his home on the Isle of Wight, his wife, Dee, told BBC News.

Taylor directed photography on more than 60 films during his six-decade career, including classics as diverse as Kubrick's "Dr. Strangelove" (1964), Richard Lester's "A Hard Day's Night" (1964) and Hitchcock's "Frenzy" (1972).

Taylor regarded "Star Wars" as one of his most challenging assignments because of aesthetic disagreements with its brash young director. Lucas wanted the film shot with a soft-focus lens, but Taylor insisted on a sharp focus. "I was shooting for good portraiture," Taylor told author Brian J. Robb in the book "Star Wars: The Unauthorized Inside Story of George Lucas's Epic," and he prevailed.

"Gil Taylor was an amazingly versatile cinematographer," Richard Crudo, who was president of the American Society of Cinematographers when it honored Taylor in 2006 with its international achievement award, told Variety in 2005. "He worked in black and white and color, in virtually every genre from science fiction to humor, drama and fright films," Crudo said.

The son of a builder, Taylor was born in Hertfordshire, England, on April 12, 1914. In 1929, when he was 15, he went against his father's wishes that he join the family business and instead took a job as an assistant cameraman on a silent picture. During World War II he served in the Royal Air Force photographing targets of nighttime raids over Germany for Winston Churchill.

After the war he began a long association with British director J. Lee Thompson, shooting nine films for him, including the intense "The Yellow Balloon" (1953). He became known for his composition, naturalism and ample use of light.

"If you look at my work," Taylor told American Cinematographer magazine in 2006, "you'll see that I almost always worked a little above the average key light because the use of bounced light served to fill the shadows a bit. That gave the image extra guts. … I'd just blast everything with light."


Lew Wood, a broadcast journalist who covered President John F. Kennedy's assassination while working as a correspondent for CBS and anchored the news for NBC's "Today" show in the mid-1970s, died of kidney failure Wednesday at a hospice in Riverside County, his daughter Brigitte Wood said. He was 84.

Allen Lanier, a keyboardist and guitarist who played with the hard rock group Blue Oyster Cult, which had a hit in the mid-1970s titled "Don't Fear the Reaper," died Aug. 14 of complications from chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, the band announced. No other details were given. Lanier, who also collaborated with Patti Smith and was romantically linked to her, was 67.

Norman Winter, a veteran Hollywood publicist who crafted successful campaigns for such music superstars as Elton John, Neil Diamond and Michael Jackson, died of Lewy body disease Thursday in Las Vegas, publicist John Thompson said. A New York native who began his career as a teen fanzine photographer, Winter played a key role in helping John become a household name in America and guided the publicity for Jackson's bestselling "Thriller" album. He was 85.

Times staff and wire reports