Film-maker Les Blank dies at age of 77

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FILM-MAKER Les Blank, whose documentaries on blues musicians and a range of other subjects won acclaim, has died at the age of 77.

Harrod Blank said his father, whose 42 films earned him a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute, died of cancer at his home in California yesterday.

Blank’s early films focused on musicians, including 1960s portraits of trumpeter Dizzy Gillespie and blues guitarist Lightnin’ Hopkins.

He shifted to food with documentaries like 1980’s Garlic Is As Good As 10 Mothers and 2007’s All In This Tea.

But Blank’s best-known work was on fellow film-maker Werner Herzog, including 1982’s Burden Of Dreams, where Blank’s behind-the-scenes view of the making of Herzog’s Fitzcarraldo in Peru became a classic chronicle of artistic obsession.