Documentary film pioneer Albert Maysles dead at 88

By JTA
March 8, 2015 07:57

Jewish documentary filmmaker Albert Maysles, known for films such as “Grey Gardens” and “Gimme Shelter,” died Thursday night at his home in Manhattan. He was 88.

The cause of death is not yet known.

Maysles, once called the “best American cameraman” by Jean-Luc Godard, was one of the country’s most revered documentarians. Along with his brother David, who died in 1987, he in the late 195s pioneered the use of lightweight, battery-powered cameras that allowed cameramen to move around more easily while filming.

Besides “Grey Gardens” (1976), a cult classic that explored the lives of relatives of Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, and “Gimme Shelter” (1970), one of the earliest rock documentaries that followed the Rolling Stones on their 1969 tour, Maysles directed documentaries on The Beatles, Marlon Brando and Truman Capote.

Born in Boston in 1926 to Eastern European Jewish immigrants, Maysles studied at Syracuse and Boston University. During his childhood in the 1930s, his mother had to battle to get a job as teacher in a local school because she was Jewish.


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