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Gary Graver, Welles' Director of Photography, Dies

Gary Graver, a cinematographer who worked with Orson Welles in the final years of the director's life and fought for decades to see Welles' last film finished and released, died.

Graver died at his home in Rancho Mirage on Thursday, according to Jillian Kesner-Graver, his wife of 25 years. He was 68.

He was Welles' director of photography on the films "F is for Fake," "Filming Othello, "It's All True," and "The Other Side of The Wind," a movie Welles left unfinished at his death in 1985 and which Graver unsuccessfully tried to bring to the screen until his own death.

"He was a maverick cameraman who could do anything," said Curtis Harrington, a director who made the 2002 film "Usher" with Graver. "He also was very close to Orson, who recognized his wonderful qualities as a human being."

When Welles died, he left only about 40 minutes of edited footage of "The Other Side of the Wind," a film about a gifted director's artistic decline that he had worked on for 15 years. It starred fellow directors John Huston and Peter Bogdanovich.

Graver tried to raise the $3.5 million he thought was necessary to piece together the film from Welles' script and editing notes.

Graver had recently untangled the rights to the film and had been working on a deal with the Showtime cable television network, according to Variety film critic Todd McCarthy, who was himself making a documentary with Graver.

Graver met Welles in 1970, when he called the director at the Beverly Hills Hotel and asked to work with him. Welles invited him to visit the same day and asked him to shoot early tests for "The Other Side of the Wind," Kesner-Graver said.

"I called Orson because I knew we would have the same sense of humor and that we would get along," Graver told the Los Angeles Times in a 2004 interview. "I knew how to make a movie without much money, and he liked that."

The pair would eventually work together on 15 projects.

Graver also shot several low-budget movies for cult horror director Roger Corman, and filmed the 1977 directorial debut of Ron Howard, "Grand Theft Auto."

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