Les Blank Dies; Documentary Filmmaker Was 77


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Documentary Filmmaker Les Blank has died at the age of 77.

Blank's son, Harrod, reported to the San Francisco Chronicle that his father died of bladder cancer on Sunday at his home in Berkeley, California. Harrod is also a documentary filmmaker.

Blank directed more than 30 documentaries and documentary shorts during his 40-year career. Many of his documentaries focused on nice music and musicians, including films about blues singers, Appalachian music, Cajun music, polka, tamburitza, and Hawaiian music. Blank also took on other documentary subjects such as director Werner Herzog in the moviea Burden of Dreams and Werner Herzong Eats His Shoe. Blank's final film was All in This Tea, which follows a California tea importer who searches for organically grown "boutique tea."

Though Blank had been creating movies since 1960, it was the documentary short The Blues Accordin' to Lightnin' Hopkins that propelled his documentary career. Blank went on to found an independent production company called Flower Films.

(Image courtesy Petr Novák, Wikipedia)