Jordan Cronenweth was diagnosed with Parkinson's disease in 1978, yet though often fighting pain, he not only continued to work as one of Hollywood's premiere directors of photography into the 90s, but also did some of his most innovative work after the diagnosis. Cronenweth is best recalled for his hallucinogenic lighting of "Altered States" (1980), the luminous and yet at the same time neo-expressionistic lighting of Ridley Scott's "Blade Runner" (1982), which won the Best Cinematography BAFTA Award, and Francis Ford Coppola's "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986), which earned an Oscar nomination for his elegiac use of lighting that bespoke time, mood, place, and remembrance.
Cronenweth was the son of a studio still photographer and a Busby Berkeley dancer who began working as an assistant camera operator in the mid-60s, and learned his craft under the great Conrad L. Hall. He was the operator for "In Cold Blood" (1966), for which Hall received an Academy Award nomination. By 1970, Cronenweth was a DP in his own right, working for director Robert Altman on "Brewster McCloud". He did some very mainstream Hollywood films in the 70s, including the 1974 remake of "The Front Page" and "Gable and Lombard" (1976), but by the 80s was working on more cutting-edge material, often independents. Cronenweth was heralded for his work on such films as "Cutter's Way" (1981), which offered haunting yet subdued imagery, and shot the performance documentary "U2: Rattle and Hum" (1988). "Final Analysis" (1992) was Cronenweth's last feature film. Through the years, Cronenweth was also director of photography and/or director of more than 50 TV commercials, including the famous musical ads for Dr. Pepper in the 70s. Additionally, he worked occasionally in TV (e.g., "Birds of Prey", CBS 1973; "One in a Million: The Ron LeFlore Story", CBS 1978).