The 'Buffy' cinematographer was also the protégé of the legendary DP Vilmos Zsigmond.
Cinematographer Michael Gershman, best known for his work on Buffy the Vampire Slayer, passed away on March 10th at his home in Malibu. He was 73.
The St. Louis native worked on the show, starring Sarah Michelle Geller, during the first five seasons from 1997 through 2001, after which he began work on the NBC crime drama Crossing Jordan, starring Jill Hennessey and the late Miguel Ferrer.
Gershman earned a Primetime Emmy nomination in 2000 for the work he did on an episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer entitled "Hush. He also eventually went on to direct episodes of the show, as well as those for Crossing Jordan.
Though Gershman worked primarily in television later on in his career, he got his start in the 70s working under Oscar-winning cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond as an assistant camera operator on films such as The Deer Hunter, The Rose, Blow Out, and Heaven's Gate.
In response to his passing, many who worked with Gershman wrote touching messages on social media, including Buffy director Joss Whedon and star Geller, who penned a heartfelt tribute to the late cinematographer on her Instagram account, sharing that not only did Gershman teach her "everything [she knows] about great photography and lighting, but he also was the one who danced with her in the traditional father-daughter dance at her wedding when she married fellow actor Freddie Prinze Jr.
TV fantasy was all fisheye lenses and purple gels. With a budget of zero dollars DP (later director) MICHAEL GERSHMAN made Buffy look grown up and gorgeous. It helped define the show more than people know. Great guy, great eye. R.I.P. pic.twitter.com/y9YV5cJHnm— Joss Whedon (@joss) March 19, 2018
This picture is from my wedding, during the traditional father daughter dance. As I did not have a father to dance with while Freddie danced with his mother, this incredible man stepped in. Michael Gershman. I have been so fortunate to have this great man in my life. He is the greatest example of everything a truly selfless man and father should be. I am so fortunate that his two daughters, are so gracious to share him with me. I learned to love great sushi , from him. And while he tried to teach me his love of red wine, it was his love of sake that stuck with me. When I got my Akita, it was Michael that taught me how to care for a large dog. His Thanksgiving dinners are epic. Everything I know about great photography and lighting , is because of Michael. The lessons I learned from him are endless. But more than lessons, there was love. The world lost Michael on Saturday. His love of life was permeating, and I'm going to try to put aside the grief and love life for him. Thank you Lauren and Abby, for always sharing your Dad with me. Thank you Cecilia for making him so happy and encouraging him to explore so many new passions. I am lucky to have been loved by Michael.
A post shared by Sarah Michelle (@sarahmgellar) on Mar 14, 2018 at 10:13am PDT
Having retired a few years ago, Gershman became an avid woodworker before his passing. His absence will surely be felt not only by the film industry as a whole but by those who were lucky enough to work with him and call him a friend.