Leacock, Richard

Leacock, Richard, 1921–2011, Anglo-American filmmaker, b. London. A key figure in the development of cinéma vérité, he also helped create the camera and sound equipment that made the style possible. Raised on his father's Canary Islands banana plantation, Leacock made his first documentary, the short Canary Bananas, in 1935. He left Harvard (1942) to become a combat cameraman, and later assisted Robert Flaherty in making Louisiana Story (1948). Leacock made dozens of films. many originally for television. Among his best-known works are Primary (1960), a record of the Wisconsin Kennedy vs. Humphrey Democratic primary; Crisis (1963), on the desegregation confrontation between President Kennedy and Gov. George Wallace; A Stravinsky Portrait (1965); and Monterey Pop (1968). He also taught (1968–88) at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. Among his later films are the lighthearted Les Oeufs à la Coque de Richard Leacock (1991) and his last work, A Musical Adventure in Siberia (2000). Leacock has greatly influenced later documentarians and Truffaut, Cassavetes, Scorsese, and other directors.

See J. Weiner, dir., On “Being There” with Richard Leacock (documentary, 2010).

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