Francis Thompson (1908-2003)

NY, NY: A Day in New York (1957)

Francis Thompson, 95; Filmmaker Won Oscar for Documentary

December 31, 2003 in print edition B-10

Francis Thompson, 95, a filmmaker who won an Oscar for a multiscreen documentary, died of pneumonia Friday in a New York hospital.

Born in Titusville, Pa., in 1908, Thompson had a 50-year filmmaking career in which he produced and directed films ranging from "N.Y., N.Y." (a 1957 look at a day in the life of New York City) to "On the Wing" (a 1986 Imax film about man's love affair with flight).

Thompson won his Oscar for best short documentary in 1965 for "To Be Alive!" a three-screen documentary that conveyed the joy of life by focusing on children in Africa, Italy and America.

He co-produced the film, which was shown at the New York World's Fair from 1964 to '65, with his longtime partner, Alexander Hammid.

After retiring from filmmaking in 1987, Thompson devoted his time to painting, assembling collages and exploring the artistic potential of photocopy machines.

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