Isidore “Izzy” Mankofsky, a longtime cinematography who worked on such films as The Jazz Singer, The Muppet Movie and Somewhere in Time and enjoyed a prolific career in TV, earning three Emmy nominations, has died. He was 89. The American Society of Cinematographers said he died March 11 but did not provide details.
He received the President’s Award from the American Society of Cinematographers in 2009 for his decades of leadership and service to the organization and was nominated three times for its ASC Awards: twice for Outstanding Achievement in Cinematography for a Miniseries or Special (Polly, 1989, and Love, Lies and Murder, 1991) and once for Outstanding Individual Achievement in Cinematography for a Miniseries or Special (Afterburn, 1992).
Born on September 22, 1931, to Ukrainian immigrant parents in New York City and raised there and in Chicago, Mankofsky served in the Air Force before embarking on his showbiz career. He got his start behind the lens in short films during the late 1960s and early ’70s. The ASC says Mankofsky got an accidental early break with a handball game a local YMCA. His was playing against Jim McGuinn, a producer of educational films at Encyclopedia Britannica Films, who asked if Mankofsky would be interested in shooting a series in Florida. He went on to shoot more than 160 half-hour 16mm films during the next year-plus.
He eventually pivoted to features — among his first was the 1973 blaxploitation pic Scream Blacula Scream — and TV, where his specialized in telefilms. He was director of photography on episodes series including Columbo and Doctor’s Hospital and such miniseries as Aspen, Trade Winds and Captains and the Kings. His many notables TV movie credits range from Fly Away Home and Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy to Broadway Bound, The Gift of Love and The Heidi Chronicles.
Along with The Muppet Movie (1979) and 1980’s The Jazz Singer and Somewhere in Time, Mankofsky’s feature credits also include Better Off Dead (1985), Say Yes (1986), Skin Deep (1989) and, most recently, Too Loud a Solitude (2007).
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