Filmmaker William Cartwright, rescuer of Watts Towers, dies

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Michael Oh/FlickrCC

The Watts Towers in Los Angeles, Calif.

William T. Cartwright, an Emmy-winning filmmaker who helped save the landmark Watts Towers in Los Angeles, has died at age 92.

The Los Angeles Times says Cartwright died Saturday at an LA hospice. His son, William Jr., says the cause was mainly old age.

The soaring mosaic-encrusted towers were created by Simon Rodia over several decades but had been neglected and faced demolition when Cartwright first saw them in 1959.

He and Nicholas King bought the property for $3,000 and formed a nonprofit group to fight City Hall and preserve them. The towers are now considered a masterpiece of folk art.

Cartwright won or shared three Emmys for editing or producing documentaries, including two about the 1960 and 1964 presidential campaigns.

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