Walter Lassally

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Walter Lassally
Walter Lassally 2006.jpg
Lassally in Crete with his Oscar
Born18 December 1926
Died23 October 2017 (aged 90)
Chania, Crete
Years active1946–2016

Walter Lassally (18 December 1926 – 23 October 2017 [1] [2] ) was a German-born British cinematographer. He won the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in 1965 for the film Zorba the Greek .


Life and work

Lassally was born in Berlin, Germany. His family was Protestant by religion, but Jewish by ancestry. [3] They moved to England in 1939 to escape the Nazis. [4] He was closely associated with the Free cinema movement in the 1950s, and the British New Wave in the early 1960s. He worked in the early 1960s with director Tony Richardson on the film versions of A Taste of Honey (1961), The Loneliness of the Long Distance Runner (1962) and Tom Jones (1963).

Lassally also worked with Greek filmmaker Michael Cacoyannis between 1956 and 1967, and with James Ivory in the 1970s and 1980s. In the 1990s he moved to Stavros, near Chania in Crete, the town where he shot Zorba the Greek in 1963.

His autobiography, Itinerant Cameraman, was published in 1987. He was featured in the book Conversations with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis, published by Scarecrow Press in 2011.

He made his debut as an actor in Richard Linklater's Before Midnight (2013), where he played an older British writer settled in Greece. Lassally died on October 23, 2017, at the age of 90 in Crete, Greece. [5] [6]


In 1965, Lassally won an Academy Award for Best Cinematography (Black-and-White) for Zorba the Greek (1964). This Oscar melted during a fire at Christiana's Restaurant, on the night of January 1, 2012.

On January 26, 2008, the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) presented Lassally with an International Achievement Award at the 22nd Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards celebration, at the Hollywood and Highland Grand Ballroom, Los Angeles.


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  1. "Walter Lassally obituary". the Guardian. October 24, 2017.
  2. "Cinematographer Walter Lassally, Oscar Winner for 'Zorba the Greek,' Dies at 90 | Hollywood Reporter". 24 October 2017.
  3. Lassally, Walter. "Jewish, but not Jewish enough" via
  4. "Walter Lassally Biography (1926-)".
  5. "Συλλυπητήρια Βάμβουκα για την απώλεια κινηματογραφιστή Walter Lassaly".
  6. Genzlinger, Neil (October 27, 2017). "Walter Lassally, Cinematographer Who Won Oscar for 'Zorba,' Dies at 90 (Published 2017)". The New York Times via
  7. Pleasantville at IMDb
  8. Diary of a Madman at IMDb