Dan Kneece, the veteran camera and Steadicam operator who frequently worked with filmmaker David Lynch, has died. He was 64.
His death was confirmed by ICG Local 600’s National President John Lindley, in a message sent out to guild members.
“Dan Kneece was a hard working member and colleague with a ready smile and open arms that embraced all of us who knew and worked with him,” wrote Lindley. “The world was his friend. He leaves his legacy of kindness and warmth for us to carry on in his absence. We mourn his loss and extend condolences to his friends and family.”
Born on September 13, 1956 in Columbia, South Carolina, Kneece collaborated with Lynch on such acclaimed films as Blue Velvet, Wild at Heart, Lost Highway and Mulholland Dr., along with his iconic ABC series Twin Peaks and its follow-up film, Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me.
Kneece had more than 200 credits in film and TV, co-founding the Steadicam Guild in 2002. He also served for a time as president of the Society of Camera Operators, and was a longstanding member of the NEB Board at Local 600.
Kneece kickstarted his career in 1979 by shooting news for his hometown station, WIS-TV, while earning his Master’s in Media Arts at the University of South Carolina.
After learning to operate the Steadicam in 1982, by way of Randy Nolen, Toby Phillips and inventor Garrett Brown, he’d go on to use it on films including Coneheads, Scream, Crimson Tide, Jackie Brown, One Hour Photo, Old School, Hulk, and Bruce Almighty, among others.
He also worked on series such as Vietnam War Story, The Wonder Years, Melrose Place, Nash Bridges, Felicity, Nurse Betty, Entourage and Nip/Tuck, and served as cinematographer on films including Southern Belles.
Plans for a memorial have not yet been disclosed.