Leon Vitali, an English actor and former personal assistant to director Stanley Kubrick, died on Friday at the age of 74. The artist played Lord Bullingdon in Kubrick’s “Barry Lyndon”, released in 1975, leaves three children, Masha, Max and Vera. The cause of death was not revealed.
“It is with the utmost sadness that we have to tell you that the mainstay of a number of Kubrick’s films, Leon Vitali, passed away peacefully last night,” the director’s adviser wrote on Twitter. “Our thoughts are with your family.”
Tony Zierra’s 2017 documentary Filmworker shed light on Vitali’s enormous and largely unknown contributions to the work of one of cinema’s greatest figures. From “The Shining” (1980) to “Eyes Wide Shut” (1999), he’s done everything from casting to training actors.
Vitali was so fascinated by Kubrick and his processes that he made an unusual decision: he gave up acting and devoted himself entirely to the famous director for more than two decades. “I made a truly radical change in my life and that’s when I said, ‘I’m more interested in this’ than acting,” Vitali told the Associated Press in 2017. “This is the biggest conscious decision I’ve ever made. There were some sacrifices, but there were also gains.”
After Kubrick’s death in 1999, Vitali oversaw the restoration of many of the director’s films, receiving a Cinema Audio Society award for his work. Years later, the Brit collaborated with Todd Field in his films “Intimate Sins” (2006) and “Between Four Walls” (2001).