The legendary cinematographer Vilmos Zsigmond, best known for The Deer Hunter and Close Encounters of the Third Kind, has died.

His business partner Yuri Neyman confirmed that Zsigmond died on Friday in Big Sur, Calif. He was 85.

The Hungarian-born Zsigmond helped define cinema's American New Wave in the 1970s through iconic collaborations and a preference for natural light.

He first gained renown for his collaboration with Robert Altman on classics McCabe & Mrs. Miller and The Long Goodbye.

In addition to his work on Michael Cimino's classic The Deer Hunter, for which he earned an Oscar nomination, Zsigmond also worked with Brian De Palma on a number of films including Obsession, Blow Out, The Bonfire of the Vanities  and The Black Dahlia.

Zsigmond's sole Oscar win was for Steven Spielberg's Close Encounters of the Third Kind. He had worked as director of photography on the Spielberg's first motion picture The Sugarland Express.

He often found repeat work with directors, working on Cimino's flop Heaven's Gate, and Woody Allen films Melinda and Melinda, Cassandra's Dream and You Will Meet a Tall Dark Stranger.

More recently, he worked on television's The Mindy Project.

With files from CBC News