AMPS, the Association of Motion Picture Sound, confirmed the news, saying Nightingall passed away at his UK home on Tuesday (May 19).
Oscar-winning Gravity and Black Hawk Down sound mixer, Chris Munro, paid the following tribute, “I first met Ken when I entered the industry over 50 years ago. He was immensely supportive of me as I carved my early career as a young sound mixer. ‘Legend’ is the word that springs to mind when I try to describe him. He will be sadly missed by our film community but his is a life and career that should be celebrated. Our thoughts are with his family at this sad time.”
Nightingall had a long and successful career as a boom operator, beginning in the 1960s on features including Alfie, Funeral In Berlin, and The Boys From Brazil, and spanning James Bond pics For Your Eyes Only, Octopussy, View To A Kill And The Living Daylights.
His is most known, however, for his work on Star Wars: A New Hope. In 2015, a behind-the-scenes image capturing Nightingall shirtless, sporting a vibrant pair of pink shorts, with black socks and brown work boots, emerged on Reddit. The post was so popular it has spawned cosplay tributes – ‘pink shorts boom guy’ – at conventions ever since.
Speaking to ABC News last year, Nightingall said that it was “very, very hot” during the 1977 Tunisia shoot on the movie, which 100 Brit crew members flew out for, hence his outfit. He described the cosplay as “very nice”, adding, “They seem to like it, good for them.”
He is survived by his wife Rose, daughter Toni, and son Terence Nightingall, who is a camera operator based in Los Angeles who has also directed episodes of NCIS: Los Angeles and ER.