Leon Vitali – the actor who became one of the closest collaborators of the famous director Stanley Kubrick, died at the age of 74, the Associated Press reported, quoted by BTA.
He died at his home in Los Angeles on Friday.
Although Leon Vitali is often described as Stanley Kubrick’s assistant, Tony Ziera’s 2017 documentary Filmworker shines a light on his enormous and largely under-recognized contribution to the work of one of cinema’s greatest figures – from “The Shining” to “Eyes Wide Shut”.
He does everything from casting and training actors to overseeing restorations. Vitali even once set up a video monitor so Kubrick could watch his dying cat.
“Some people we meet make a big impact in our lives. Leon Vitali was such a person in mine. An artist in every aspect of his life. A loving father and friend to many”tweeted actor Matthew Modine, who starred in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Arms.
He was one of the most authentic human beings I’ve ever met.
I was 24 years old when I met him.
He taught me that you cannot go through life only self-serving. That you must give to others always.
He taught me the best practical ways to prepare for work.
And he was a sweet sweet man https://t.co/P0bcxrqvSJ
— Vincent D’Onofrio (@vincentdonofrio) August 21, 2022
Director Lee Unkrich also took to the social network to pay his respects: “I am devastated by the news of the passing of Leon Vitali… A kind, humble, generous man and a vital part of Stanley Kubrick’s team.”
Before meeting Kubrick, Vitali was an up-and-coming actor in England with appearances in several television shows. In 1974, he made his big break in cinema when he was cast as Lord Bullingdon in the film Barry Lyndon. Actor Ryan O’Neill takes on the role of the main character.
Vitali was so fascinated by Stanley Kubrick and his ideas that he made an unusual decision – he gave up acting and devoted himself entirely to the famous demanding director for more than two decades.
His next success with Kubrick was as “the director’s personal assistant” on The Shining.
After Stanley Kubrick’s death in 1999, Leon Vitali oversaw the restoration of many of the famed director’s films.