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David P. Maysles, Documentary Film Maker, Dies

January 05, 1987|From Times Wire Services

NEW YORK — David Paul Maysles, who with his brother, Albert, became one of America's most celebrated documentary film makers with their "direct cinema" style, died Saturday.

Maysles, 54, whose work included such disparate films as "Grey Gardens" and "Gimme Shelter," died at Roosevelt Hospital of a stroke resulting from an aneurysm, said Karan Thorsen, a friend of the family.

Maysles' work included "Gimme Shelter" in 1970, an account of the Rolling Stones' 1969 U.S. tour that climaxed in an on-camera killing at Altamont Speedway near Oakland, "Salesman" in 1968, and "Islands," "Running Fence" and "Valley Curtain" in 1976 for which the brothers received an Academy Award nomination.

"Valley Curtain" showcased the artist Christo's use of monumental curtains, which he hung between peaks across Rifle Gap in the Colorado Rockies.

Born in Boston on Jan. 10, 1932, Maysles was graduated from Boston University with a degree in psychology and served in the Army in West Germany. Shortly after the beginning of his film-making career, Maysles became an assistant to the producer on "Bus Stop" and "The Prince and the Showgirl," both starring Marilyn Monroe.

But he turned to documentary films, saying he was "disenchanted with conventional filming. The glamour had faded and the filming of take after take had become tedious."

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