Leon Vitali, movie genius and Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man, dies at 74

Leon Vitalithe actor of “Barry Lyndon” who became one of the closest associates of stanley kubrick, has died. She was 74 years old.

Vitali passed away peacefully on Friday in The Angels, his family told The Associated Press on Sunday. He was surrounded by his loved ones, including his three children: Masha, Max and Vera.

“Leon was a special and charming man driven by his curiosity, who spread love and warmth wherever he went,” his children said in a statement provided by Masha Vitali. “He will be fondly remembered, and will be greatly missed by the many people he touched.”

Although Vitali was often described as Kubrick’s assistant, Tony Zierra’s 2017 documentary “Filmworker” shed light on the enormous and largely unnoticed contributions to the work of one of the most prominent directors since “The Shining” (“The glow“) to “Eyes Wide Shut” (“Eyes wide Shut“). He did everything from casting and advising the actors to overseeing restorations. On one occasion, Vitali even set up a video monitor so that Kubrick could be watching his dying cat.

Matthew Modine, who starred in “Full Metal Jacket” (“Cwar altar“) by Kubrick, tweeted his condolences on Sunday.

“There are people we meet who have a profound impact on our lives. In mine, Leon Vitali was one of those people,” he wrote. Modine. “An artist in every aspect of his life. A loving father and friend to so many. Kind, generous and understanding nature. He exemplified and personified grace.”

the filmmaker lee unkrich He also tweeted that he was “absolutely heartbroken to learn that Leon Vitali has died. He helped me tremendously with my Shining book and I’m heartbroken that he won’t see it. He was a sweet, kind, humble and generous man and a vital part of Stanley Kubrick’s team.”

Also read: Stanley Kubrick naked: memories of his best friend in a documentary

Before meeting Kubrick, Vitali was a rising actor in England, where he appeared in several British television shows, including “softly, softly”, “Follyfoot”, “Z Cars” and “Notorious Woman”. In 1974 he landed his biggest role to date, when he was cast in “Barry Lyndon” to play Lord Bullingdon, Lyndon’s son-in-law, played by Ryan O’Neal.

So fascinated by Kubrick and his filmmaking processes, Vitali made an unusual decision: He gave up acting and devoted himself entirely to the demanding director for more than two decades. His next credit on a Kubrick film was “Personal Assistant to the Director” on “The Shining,” though that only shows a fraction of his duties: Vitali also helped recruit 4-year-old Danny Lloyd to play Danny Torrance. , and Louise and Lisa Burns to be the sinister twins grady (and said she was inspired by Diane Arbus).

“I made only one really, really radical change in my life, and that was when I said, ‘I’m more interested in that than I was in acting,’” Vitali told The Associated Press in 2017. “That’s the decision. most important conscious I have ever taken in my life. there were some sacrificesbut there were also gains.”

Following Kubrick’s death in 1999, Vitali oversaw the restoration of many of the director’s films. He received an award from the Cinema Audio Society for his work. Later he worked with director Todd Field on his films “little children” and “In the Bedroom”.

Before making his documentary, Zierra said that he and many Kubrick-obsessed moviegoers knew Vitali from his roles in “Barry Lyndon” and “Eyes Wide Shut,” where he played red cape, and as a crucial member of Kubrick’s circle of closest associates. But when they finally met Vitali to make the film, they were struck by “his kindness, his humbleness and the fascinating scope of his story.”

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Leon Vitali, movie genius and Stanley Kubrick’s right-hand man, dies at 74

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