Marilyn in the news

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Photographer Jack Cardiff has died


British director and acclaimed cameraman Jack Cardiff, who won a cinematography Oscar for 1948's Black Narcissus, has died at aged 94.

No details about how Cardiff died have been made public yet.

The director and cinematographer is much admired by many in the business for both his skills.

American director Martin Scorsese once said that Cardiff could "paint with the camera" and praised an 18-minute dance sequence in the 1948 film The Red Shoes, which Cardiff filmed, as "a moving painting."

Some of the more notable movies Cardiff worked on as a cinematographer include John Huston's The African Queen (1950),War and Peace (1954), Death on the Nile(1978), Conan the Destroyer (1984) andRambo: First Blood Part II (1985).

He was also the cameraman for The Prince and the Showgirl, a 1957 British film starring Marilyn Monroe and co-starring Laurence Olivier, who also directed.

Monroe once described Cardiff's filmmaking skills as "the best in the world."

Born in Great Yarmouth, Norfolk, to music hall entertainers, Cardiff once said immersion in the world of theatre bolstered his desire to create scenes. He spent much of his childhood watching art directors paint backdrops in theatres and setting up lights.

'Light and colour became my world'

"I was fascinated by two men up in the wings, one on each side of the stage, following the actors with a spotlight," he wrote in an article in 2007.

"I spent a lot of time with them and a stirring was born in me which I later recognised as an urge to create. Light and colour became my world."

In 1937, he shot Wings of the Morning, the first film in Britain to be shot in Technicolor, and he eventually graduated to directing, adapting D. H. Lawrence's Sons and Lovers to the screen in 1960.

He once said of all the films he worked on, he is most proud of Sons and Lovers, which he described as the most difficult shoot.

"I wanted to make it into a good film because the book is marvellous and I didn't want to let the author down."

Cardiff — who said he would have been painter if he had not worked in film — was made an officer of the Order of the British Empire in 2000 and was presented with an honorary Oscar in 2001.

-courtesy of

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