L.M. Kit Carson 1941–2014

Kit and Hunter Carson, Houston, TX, 12/3/83

Kit and Hunter Carson, Houston, TX, 12/3/83

Hunter’s sneakers and sweatshirt were crimson, Kit’s scarf, a more subdued shade of red, but his slicker was blazing yellow.  We were in Houston, preparing to shoot the scenes in Wim Wenders’ “Paris, Texas” of Jane (Nastassja Kinski) arriving at and driving through the bank.  (Her car was red too).

I heard earlier this week that Kit had just died.  My extreme sadness included a strange component–a feeling that eight-year-old Hunter had lost his father.  Although I’ve seen Hunter since his miraculous performance in “Paris, Texas,” know he’s an adult with three small daughters, and a writer and filmmaker, the child he was is forever imprinted on me.

Kit’s career, fueled by his great instincts and huge talent, included work on several of the most important films in independent cinema, shaping the medium.  He was the co-writer (with director Jim McBride) of the very funny “David Holtzman’s Diary,” which critiqued cinéma vérité.  His documentary “The American Dreamer,” chronicled the chaos involved in the making of Dennis Hopper’s “The Last Movie.”  Kit breathed life into Sam Shephard’s unfinished script for “Paris, Texas.”  On set daily, both in Texas and Los Angeles, he was smart, funny, energetic and always interestingly dressed, whereas most of us looked like we’d slept in our clothes.  And Kit aided a young, inexperienced  director and two actors, in front of a camera for the first time, make a short and then expand it into a feature, “Bottle Rocket,” launching the careers of Wes Anderson and Luke and Owen Wilson.

Kit Carson and Wim Wenders on the set of "Paris, Texas," Los Angeles, 11/83

Kit Carson and Wim Wenders on the set of “Paris, Texas,” Los Angeles, 11/83

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