The news was first reported by Colman Andrews, a writer and close personal friend of Daviau's. He reported that the Daviau passed away in a Los Angeles hospital after contracting COVID-19.
RIP Allen Daviau, my friend of almost 60 years, cinematographer and bon vivant, five-time Academy Award nominee, dining companion extraordinaire, pure soul, who left us last night at the MPTF Hospital, his longtime home, after contracting COVID-19. Salut, mon ami.— Colman Andrews (@Colmanandrews) April 16, 2020
Daviau was nominated for five Academy Awards throughout his career. In addition to E.T. and Empire of the Sun, he was also responsible for directing the photography in The Color Purple, Avalon, Defending Your Life, Fearless and Bugsy.
Before he started working as a cinematographer, he shot early, pre-MTV "music videos" for the Animals and the Jimi Hendrix Experience.
Kees van Oostrum, president of the American Society of Cinematographers, shared the following statement [via Variety]:
It is with great regret and sadness that I have to announce the passing last night of my friend and a great member of the society, Mr. Allen Daviau, ASC. Allen started his career shooting the early movies of Stephen Spielberg, including Amblin (1968), and went on to an impressive career as a cinematographer with movies that have deeply inspired us all. He was honored with 5 Academy Award nominations, was bestowed our Lifetime Achievement Award in 2007 and won our Outstanding ASC Achievement in Cinematography for Bugsy (1991) and Empire of the Sun (1987). He amassed an impressive body of work: E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial (1982), The Color Purple (1985), and Avalon (1990), just to mention a few.
Allen was active in our society in many ways like chairing our membership committee for several years. Also, his commitment to teaching our craft and being very accessible for young cinematographers will forever be engraved in our memories. He will be remembered fondly for his sense of humor, his taste for the best of foods and his laugh that unmistakably marked his presence from far away.
Allen was 77 years old and I am proud that we were able to host him during our 100-year celebration last year. He told me then that it was for him "one of the best of gifts life had to offer". His smile that evening was affectionate and many of us were able to pay him respect. You will be missed so much, dear Allen.