By Jane Nambi
Documentary maker, Les Blank has died aged 77 years of age.
Mr. Blank died yesterday, Sunday 7th April, his son revealed. He was known for focusing on cultural corners ranging from blues music, to garlic lovers, to shoe-eating artists.
He died at his home in Berkeley, Calif. nearly a year after being diagnosed with bladder cancer, his son, Harrod Blank said. He has 42 films to his name which saw him earn a lifetime achievement award from the American Film Institute. “I think he’s a national treasure,” filmmaker Taylor Hackford, president of the Directors Guild of America said. “Although his films are not well-known at the moment, they’ll take their place”
A Florida-born, his early documentaries focused on musicians, including 1965′s “Dizzy Gillespie” and “The Blues Accordin’ to Lightnin’ Hopkins,” a portrait of the Texas bluesman that won Blank his first wide renown. He later on moved to food with
“If he was interested in gap-toothed women, he’s going to make a film about it. If he wants to make a film about garlic because he loves to eat garlic, he’s going to do it,” said Harrod Blank, who is also a filmmaker. He is however most remembered for his documentary, 1979′s “Werner Herzog Eats His Shoe” in which he chronicled Herzog’s attempt to dine on his boot, the result of a lost bet.