E.T. moon shot
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Source: Universal

E.T. cinematographer Allen Daviau dies at 77 from coronavirus complications

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Apr 16, 2020

Allen Daviau, the cinematographer who gave the world the iconic silhouette of E.T. and Elliott against the moon, died Wednesday from coronavirus complications. He was 77.

Daviau's friend, food writer and editor Colman Andrews, confirmed Daviau's passing on Twitter.

"RIP Allen Daviau, my friend of almost 60 years, cinematographer and bon vivant, five-time Academy Award nominee, dining companion extraordinaire, pure soul, who left us last night at the MPTF Hospital, his longtime home, after contracting COVID-19," Andrews wrote. "Salut, mon ami."

Daviau's death was also confirmed by the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital, where he lived. According to The Hollywood Reporter, Daviau is the "fourth resident at the MPTF facility to die from the virus."

Credit: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

Daviau worked with Steven Spielberg since the early days, shooting his short film Amblin (which would later become the namesake of Spielberg's production company, Amblin Entertainment) and working in smaller capacities on the director's Close Encounters of the Third Kind and Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom. The Color Purple and Empire of the Sun also saw the pair reunite.

But it was his work as cinematographer on E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial that made his images iconic. He was nominated for an Oscar for his work on the film (which would be just the first of five Oscar nominations over his career). The classic moon shot even became Amblin's logo.

Spielberg took to Amblin's Twitter account to reflect on his longtime friend and colleague...

The DP also shot segments of Twilight Zone: The MovieCongo, Harry and the Hendersons, and an episode of Amazing Stories over his six-decade career. Van Helsing was Daviau's final feature film as cinematographer.

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