Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam

Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam

Article excerpt

Jack (John J.) Swain, ASC, who grew up in the movie industry and achieved fame as a leading television director of photography, died July 10 after a long illness. Mass of Christian burial was held at St. Jane Frances de Chantai Church in North Hollwood. He was the father of seven sons: John, James, Joseph, Francis, W. Murphy, Patrick and the late Robert Swain. Three sisters and 14 grandchildren also survive him. He had been an ASC member for 22 years.

Born in New York City in 1922, Swain came to California as a youth and found employment at Republic Studios in Studio City as a mail clerk.

"After leaving the mail room at Republic in 1940, I worked on a permit as a loader at Republic with Bob Johannes as camera department head," Swain wrote in 1965. "After spending World War Il in the Navy (CBI, ETO) I returned to get an opportunity to become an assistant cameraman at Republic. When TV started, I became an operator with Joe Novak photographing Roy Rogers on one of the first TV series (1951). In 1954 I went to work at MGM for George Folsey [ASC] to do one picture, and spent six years with him."

Other directors of photography with whom Swain worked between 1951 and 1960 include Harry Wild, ASC, on The Conquerer, John MacBurnie on numerous Republic productions, Robert Surtees, ASC, on Cimarron, Joseph Ruttenberg, ASC, on The Wreck of the Mary Deare, and George Clemens, ASC, on the Twilight Zone TV series.

"When George Folsey left MGM, I went back to TV as an operator on various series, the main one being Rawhide. …

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