William A. Fraker

William Ashman Fraker, A.S.C., B.S.C. (September 29, 1923 – May 31, 2010) was an American cinematographer, film director and producer. He was nominated five times for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography. In 2000, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) honoring his career. Fraker graduated from the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts in 1950.[1]

William A. Fraker
William Ashman Fraker

September 29, 1923
DiedMay 31, 2010 (aged 86)
Los Angeles, California
Board member ofA.S.C. President (1979–1980), (1984), (1991–1992)

Life and career

Fraker was born in Los Angeles, California, the son of a Hollywood studio photographer. His mother was a native of Mexico who had fled the Mexican Revolution with her family. Fraker's parents died during his childhood and he was subsequently raised by his Mexican grandmother, who instructed him in photography like she had with his father before him. He served in the Coast Guard during World War II and attended USC under the G.I. Bill, graduating with a degree in Cinema. He was admitted into the camera union in 1954 and subsequently spent years working in television before breaking into the film industry.[2][3][4]

As cinematographer, his films include The President's Analyst (1967), Rosemary's Baby (1968), Bullitt (1968), Paint Your Wagon (1969), The Day of the Dolphin (1973), Coonskin (1975), Looking For Mr. Goodbar (1977), Exorcist II: The Heretic (1977), Heaven Can Wait (1978), 1941 (1979), WarGames (1983), Irreconcilable Differences (1984), Murphy's Romance (1985), Tombstone (1993), and Street Fighter (1994).

He directed three theatrical films – Monte Walsh (1970), A Reflection of Fear (1971) and The Legend of the Lone Ranger (1981) – as well as episodes of several television series.

Fraker died on May 31, 2010 at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles after a battle with cancer. He was 86. He is survived by his wife Denise. He was predeceased in 1992 by son William A. Fraker Jr., an assistant cameraman.[5]


Academy Awards


  • Nominee Best Visual Effects - WarGames (1983) (also nominated - Michael Fink, Joe Digeatano, Jack Cooperman, Don Hansard, Colin Cantwell)
  • Nominee Best Cinematography - One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975) (also nominated - Haskell Wexler, Bill Butler)
  • Nominee Best Cinematography - Bullitt (1968)

American Society of Cinematographers

  • Winner Lifetime Achievement Award (2000)


  • Winner Lifetime Achievement Award (2003)

National Society of Film Critics

  • Winner Best Cinematography - Bullitt (1968)




Year Title Dir. Notes
1966 Incubus Leslie Stevens Uncredited;
with Conrad Hall
1967 Games Curtis Harrington
The President's Analyst Theodore J. Flicker
The Fox Mark Rydell
1968 Rosemary's Baby Roman Polanski
Bullitt Peter Yates Nominated for BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated for National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Cinematography
1969 Paint Your Wagon Joshua Logan


Year Title Dir. Notes
1971 Dusty and Sweets McGee Floyd Mutrux
1973 The Day of the Dolphin Mike Nichols
1975 Rancho Deluxe Frank Perry
Aloha, Bobby and Rose Floyd Mutrux
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest Miloš Forman Additional Photography;
with Haskell Wexler and Bill Butler

Nominated for BAFTA Award for Best Cinematography

Coonskin Ralph Bakshi
1976 Gator Burt Reynolds
The Killer Inside Me Burt Kennedy
1977 Exorcist II: The Heretic John Boorman
Close Encounters of the Third Kind Steven Spielberg Additional Photography;
with Vilmos Zsigmond and John A. Alonzo
Looking for Mr. Goodbar Richard Brooks Nominated for Academy Award for Best Cinematography
1978 American Hot Wax Floyd Mutrux
Heaven Can Wait Warren Beatty

Buck Henry

Nominated for Academy Award for Best Cinematography
1979 Old Boyfriends Joan Tewkesbury
1941 Steven Spielberg Nominated for Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated for Academy Award for Best Visual Effects


Year Title Dir. Notes
1980 The Hollywood Knights Floyd Mutrux
1981 Sharky's Machine Burt Reynolds
1981 Inchon Terence Young with Bruce Surtees
Opening sequence only
1982 Hey Good Lookin' Ralph Bakshi Uncredited, quit during production and was replaced by another cinematographer
The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas Colin Higgins
1983 WarGames John Badham Nominated for Academy Award for Best Cinematography
Nominated for BAFTA Award for Best Special Visual Effects
1984 Irreconcilable Differences Charles Shyer
Protocol Herbert Ross
1985 Fever Pitch Richard Brooks
Murphy's Romance Martin Ritt Nominated for Academy Award for Best Cinematography
1986 SpaceCamp Harry Winer
1987 Burglar Hugh Wilson
Baby Boom Charles Shyer
1989 Chances Are Emile Ardolino
An Innocent Man Peter Yates


Year Title Dir. Notes
1990 The Freshman Andrew Bergman
1992 Memoirs of an Invisible Man John Carpenter
Honeymoon in Vegas Andrew Bergman
1993 Tombstone George P. Cosmatos
1994 There Goes My Baby Floyd Mutrux
Street Fighter Steven E. de Souza
1995 Father of the Bride Part II Charles Shyer
1996 The Island of Dr. Moreau John Frankenheimer
1997 Vegas Vacation Stephen Kessler


Year Title Dir. Notes
2000 Rules of Engagement William Friedkin
2001 Town & Country Peter Chelsom
2002 Waking Up in Reno Jordan Brady Final film before death in 2010


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