Stanley Kubrick collaborator and actor Leon Vitali dies aged 74

Leon Vitali, best known for collaborating with Stanley Kubrick and appearing in various of the director’s films, has died at the age of 74.

The star, who appeared in 1975’s Barry Lyndon and 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut, died peacefully on Saturday night, according to a statement from Kubrick’s official Twitter account.

It read: ‘It is with the greatest of sadness that we have to tell you that the mainstay of a vast number of Kubrick’s films, Leon Vitali, passed away peacefully last night.

‘Our thoughts are with his family and all that new and loved him. 26 July 1948 – 20 August 2022.’

Born in Warwickshire, England, Vitali started his career by guest-starring in various TV series in the early 1970s, including Z Cars, The Fenn Street Gang, and Notorious Woman.

Vitali and Kubrick met in 1974, and the actor went on to play Lord Bullingdon in Barry Lyndon.

He stayed on to observe the editing process, and the pair forged a close friendship.

Vitali is credited on 1980’s The Shining as ‘personal assistant to the director’, and the pair teamed up once again for Full Metal Jacket in 1987, which saw Vitali act as casting director and assistant to Kubrick.

He is credited for the same roles in 1999’s Eyes Wide Shut, Kubrick’s final film, and played the character Red Cloak. In the film, Tom Cruise’s character also reads a headline that refers to ‘fashion designer Leon Vitali’.

Kubrick died in March 1999, shortly after the release of Eyes Wide Shut. In the years after his death, Vitali oversaw the restoration of most of Kubrick’s films.

Aside from Kubrick’s films, Vitali played the apothecary in Carlo Carlei’s Romeo and Juliet (starring Hailee Steinfeld).

He also played Victor Frankenstein in Terror of Frankenstein, Calvin Floyd’s adaptation.

He met his wife Kersti, a costume designer, on the project, and the pair welcomed two children, Vera and Max, before divorcing. Vitali also had his daughter Marsha from a previous marriage.

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