Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Ben Colman, ASC

Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Ben Colman, ASC

Article excerpt

Ben Colman, ASC, a veteran cinematographer who gained his greatest fame in the television field, died February 22 following surgery. He is survived by a son, two daughters, and his brother, Edward Colman, ASC, also a noted director of photography. Ben Colman was 81 last January 30, and had worked in motion pictures for 65 years. He became a member of the ASC in April, 1980.

Born in Philadelphia in 1907, Colman came to Los Angeles in 1918. The family settled in Edendale, about two blocks from the Mack Sennett Studio. Ben and his older brother often sneaked into the studio and hid inside the huge circular panorama which turned like a merry-go-round behind actors on a treadmill or in vehicles to give an effect of fast movement. Both boys gravitated into studio jobs, Edward as an assistant cameraman and Ben as an actor and stunt man.

Ben Colman eventually became a cameraman as well, working for some of the top men in the field. He was with Arthur Edeson, ASC, on MGM's Mutiny on the Bounty in 1935, Karl Freund, ASC, on MGM's The Good Earth in 1936 and James Wong Howe, ASC, on Selznick's The Prisoner of Zenda in 1938. He was at Warner Bros, for five years with Bert Glennon, ASC, and worked with Joseph Ruttenberg, ASC, Kenneth Peach, ASC, and many others.

"I became a director of photography in 1963 with a contract to make commercials for Video Productions, Inc., the third largest commercial house in the country," Colman said several years ago. "I was under contract to them for five years and made over 400 commercials. One evening in 1969, I stopped by Bill Frakers office at CBS to congratulate him on his move up to director on Monte Walsh, and while I was there a phone call came in from Leslie Stevens asking him if he could recommend someone to photograph a pilot film for him, McCloud Fraker introduced me over the phone and the next morning I was on my way to New York. …

Search by... Author
Show... All Results Primary Sources Peer-reviewed

Oops!

An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.