He died Wednesday in Los Angeles after failing to recover from a fall, according to news reports. He was 99. A cinematographer, writer, director, and producer, Ronald Neame has more than 70 films to his credit. From a showbiz family, Ronald Neame went to work for the UK’s famed Elstree Studios at 16 and began as an assistant cameraman on Alfred Hitchcock’s first sound film. He became a leading cinematographer by age 30 working closely with Noel Coward and David Lean on Blithe Spirits and Brief Encounter and Great Expectations and eventually started a production company with them. But then Lean replaced Neame as director on The Passionate Friends after a script dispute and their relationship went south. Neame also made several films with his pal Alec Guiness. In the late 1940s, Neame was sent to the United States by Rank to study Hollywood film production methods, and Neame made his home there. After leaving Rank in 1957, the filmmaker worked on varied fare and became known for extracting award-winning performances from actresses like Maggie Smith (The Prime Of Miss Jean Brodie), Shelley Winters (The Poseidon Adventure), and Judy Garland (I Could go On Singing). Neame himself was nominated for 3 Oscars, and lauded by the British Film Institute in 2003 as a “living embodiment” of cinema.
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