Albert Maysles, who with his brother David directed documentaries including Gimme Shelter and Grey Gardens, died last night at the age of 88 of complications from pancreatic cancer, Erika Dilday of the Maysles Institute confirmed to EW.
The Criterion Collection posted a note to Facebook: “Our dear friend Albert Maysles passed away last night at the age of 88. We saw things through his lens that we will never forget. He was a filmmaker up until the end. We loved him and will miss him terribly.”
The Maysles brothers worked in a style known as “direct cinema.” They chronicled Bible salesmen in 1968’s Salesman, the Rolling Stones in 1970’s Gimme Shelter, and the artists Christo and Jeanne-Claude in the short Christo’s Valley Curtain, for which they received an Oscar nomination. This year marks the 40th anniversary of their film Grey Gardens, about Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis’ eccentric relatives Big and Little Edie, and a restored version of the film opens Friday at Film Forum in New York and will later play in select theaters around the country. (Vanity Fair published audio on Thursday of a phone call between Little Edie and Albert.) “These are the words that keep coming up for documentary; empathy, experience, open-mindedness,” Maysles said in the book Tell Me Something.
And new Maysles work is still to emerge. In Transit, which he co-directed, is set to premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival. Albert’s film about Iris Apfel, Iris, which premiered at 2014’s New York Film Festival, is due out in New York in April.