Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Ernest Laszlo

Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Ernest Laszlo

Article excerpt

Ernest Laszlo, ASC, who began his career as a cinematographer in 1926, died January 6 at the Motion Picture and Television Hospital in Woodland Hills. He was 85.

Laszlo won an Academy Award for Ship of Fools in 1966 and was nominated for seven other pictures: Inherit the Wind, Judgment at Nuremberg; It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World; Fantastic Voyage, Star!, Airport and Logan's Run. He was president of the American Society of Cinematographers from 1972 through 1974 and was a longtime member of the board of directors. He is survived by his wife, Rosa, and daughter, Joan Petralia.

Emigrating to the United States from Budapest, Laszlo became a camera assistant on Tongues of Scandal, with Mae Busch, in 1926. Four years later he was promoted to operative cameraman at Paramount, where he seconded many of the studio's top directors of photography. At the same time he worked on several independent productions as a director of photography. His "poverty row" efforts included The Pace That Kills, Linda, The White Outlaw and The Primrose Path. He also helped film the Technicolor sequence of Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels.

In 1944 he received his first major screen credit as director of photography of Paramount's The Hitler Gang, shot in a stark style in which menacing shadows were emphasized, a technique usually reserved for mystery thrillers. He was immediately hailed as an outstanding pictorial stylist and, during the following six years he was assigned to Two Years Before the Mast, The Road to Rio. …

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