Documentary maker Leacock dies in Paris

March 26, 2011 at 11:26 AM
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PARIS, March 26 (UPI) -- Influential documentary filmmaker Richard Leacock died this week in Paris at the age of 89, his daughter, Victoria Hoffman, said.

Leacock created some memorable documentaries in the 1960s by pioneering the technique of "cinema verite," which uses portable cameras and lightweight sound gear to capture more spontaneous and unrehearsed moments, The New York Times said Saturday.

Leacock used the method to shoot footage of the 1960 Democratic primary campaign between John F. Kennedy and Hubert Humphrey for the film "Primary."

The Times said "Primary" and its behind-the-scenes realism was at the time a major shift away from more-produced documentaries filmed with the larger, more cumbersome equipment available at the time.

Leacock's filmography also included "Monterey Pop," which centered on the 1967 rock festival that spurred the careers of rockers such as Jimi Hendrix and Janis Joplin, and "Chair," the story of a lawyer battling to save his client from execution.

Leacock was born in London in 1921 and raised in the Canary Islands. He served in World War II as a combat photographer with the U.S. Army in China and Burma. He moved to France in 1988 after teaching film at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology for 20 years.

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