Fri. May 29th, 2020

Richard H. Kline, Cinematographer on ‘Camelot,’ ‘Body Heat’ and ‘King Kong,’ Dies at 91

Richard H. Kline, the two-time Oscar-nominated cinematographer who shot such films as CamelotStar Trek: The Motion PictureBody Heat and the 1976 remake of King Kong, has died. He was 91.


Kline died of natural causes on Tuesday in Los Angeles, his daughter Rija Kline Zucker confirmed.


Kline collaborated with director Robert Wise on The Andromeda Strain (1971) and Star Trek: The Motion Picture (1979) and partnered with Richard Fleischer on The Boston Strangler (1968), Soylent Green (1973), The Don Is Dead (1973), Mr. Majestyk (1974) and Mandingo (1975).


He worked on more than 40 features in all, also including Hang ‘Em High (1968), The Mechanic (1972), Battle for the Planet of the Apes (1973), The Fury (1978), Who’ll Stop the Rain (1978), The Competition (1980), Death Wish II (1982), Breathless (1983), All of Me (1984), Howard the Duck (1986) and his final film, Meet Wally Sparks (1997).


His father was cinematographer Benjamin H. Kline (Danger StreetFireside Theatre, dozens of Westerns), and one of his uncles, Phil Rosen, co-founded the American Society of Cinematographers in 1919 and served as its first president.



Born in Los Angeles on Nov. 15, 1926, Kline, with the help of his dad, landed a job in the camera department at Columbia Pictures after he graduated from high school in 1943. He worked as a slate boy on Cover Girl (1944), starring Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly.


After a stint in the U.S. Navy from 1944-46, he assisted cinematographer Charles Lawton Jr. on The Lady From Shanghai (1947), written and directed by Orson Welles, who also starred in the pic. He then manned the camera on Three Stooges shorts and on such films as Around the World in 80 Days (1956), A Raisin in the Sun (1961) and The Birdman of Alcatraz (1962).\


His first feature was a failed TV pilot that was turned into Chamber of Horrors (1966), directed by Hy Averback.


Though the noirish Body Heat (1981), directed by Lawrence Kasdan, was set during a steamy Florida summer, Klein noted that it was actually filmed during one of the coldest winters the state ever had.


Survivors also include his son Paul and four grandchildren.

Written By: Tommy Lightfoot Garrett
Photographs are Courtesy:  AP
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