D.A. Pennebaker, director of films by Bob Dylan and David Bowie, has died

He was also responsible for 'The War Room', an award-winning documentary that chronicled the minds behind Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign

Film director D.A. Pennebaker has died aged 94.

Reported by Variety to have died Thursday night (August 1) of natural causes, some of the filmmaker’s most notable work includes the 1967 Bob Dylan tour film Don’t Look Back and the 1973 David Bowie documentary Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars.

Getting his start as a filmmaker in 1953 when he filmed his first short Daybreak Express, Donn Alan Pennebaker’s debut offered a vivid look into the daily routine of commuters in New York City. Going on to make films for the next 65 years, he’s probably best known for his work capturing footage of some of rock’s most legendary musicians during key moments in their careers.


In 1965, he joined Bob Dylan on his final acoustic tour in England, filming the much celebrated documentary Don’t Look Back. Released in 1967, the film is often considered one of the greatest music documentaries of the past 60 years, as well as an early example of cinema verité filmmaking.

Bob Dylan
Bob Dylan smokes a cigarette as D.A. Pennebaker films for the documentary film ‘Don’t Look Back’. (Photo credit: Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

Shooting countless other artists, Pennebaker filmed Jimi Hendrix playing the 1967 Monterey International Pop Festival (for Pennebaker’s film Monterey Pop), Jerry Lee Lewis, Little Richard, Chuck Berry, and Bo Diddley (for 1969’s Keep On Rockin’), and David Bowie (for 1973’s Ziggy Stardust and the Spiders From Mars).

Later nominated for an Oscar for his work on The War Room, a documentary that chronicled the minds behind Bill Clinton’s 1992 presidential campaign, Pennebaker’s body of work took on many different forms throughout his long and storied career.

In 2013, he received a Lifetime Achievement Oscar for his filmography.