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‘The Trade’ Cinematographer Was 44



Ross McDonnell, an Irish filmmaker known for his Emmy-winning cinematography on “The Trade,” has died, his family confirmed more than a week after his body was reportedly found on a New York City beach. He was 44.

McDonnell died “unexpectedly” on Nov. 5, according to a notice on RIP.ie. NBC News reported Monday that the “remains appeared to be of filmmaker Ross McDonnell.”

The police received a 911 call on Nov. 17 about a torso with human legs attached found lying in the sand at Queens’ Breezy Point Beach. McDonnell disappeared earlier this month and was last seen on Nov. 4 leaving his apartment in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn on his bicycle — which was later discovered locked at Fort Tilden Beach in Queens on the Rockaway Peninsula next to Breezy Point.

The cause of death will be determined by the New York City medical examiner’s office. NBC’s sources reported that no foul play is suspected, and there is no indication of suicide. McDonnell possibly went for a swim and drowned after getting caught in the current, according to the sources. The investigation is ongoing; authorities are working with the Irish consulate and awaiting DNA results.

Originally from Dublin, McDonnell won an Emmy for his cinematography work on Showtime’s “The Trade,” a documentary series on the personal stories of those affected by illicit industries. Starting out as a photographer, McDonnell transitioned to working in film after his first feature “Colony,” which he directed with Carter Gunn and served as DP. Following its Toronto International Film Festival premiere, “Colony” won the IDFA First Feature Award. Since then, McDonnell has worked as a director, producer and cinematographer on numerous projects, ranging from commercials to feature films.

His other accolades include an Emmy nomination for “Elián,” a documentary he produced for CNN Films, BBC and Jigsaw Productions, and the Outstanding Cinematography: Documentary Emmy for “The First Wave,” directed by Matthew Heineman.


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