Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Richard Moore, ASC, 1925-2009

Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Richard Moore, ASC, 1925-2009

Article excerpt

Richard Moore, ASC, co-founder of Panavision and recipient of the Society's 2004 Presidents Award, died on Aug. 16 at the age of 83 in Palm Springs, Calif.

Moore was born in Jacksonville, Ill., and his family moved to Los Angeles when he was 7. After graduating from University High during World War II, he enrolled in the U.S. Navy's ROTC program at the University of Southern California. A longtime interest in photography eventually brought him to USCs cinema department. "That was somewhat unusual in those days," he stated during a 1998 interview. "But it was really the only way I could see to somehow get into the movie business, which was something I very much wanted to do."

Moore served in the navy from 1943-1946 and was a photographic offi- cer aboard the USS Montpelier. After graduating from USC in 1947, he found his prospects for employment at the studios were nonexistent. He made a living by doing odd jobs and taking on occasional work as a cinematographer for independent productions. "I once shot a travelogue and got a free trip to Europe, and while I was there, I wangled a meeting with Dr. August Arnold at the Arriflex factory in Munich," he recalled. "He showed me their Arri IIA newsreel camera, the first reflex camera, and it really bfew me away. I came back to Hollywood with the sole right to distribute it in the western United States."

Moore soon found himself in business with a college pal, future ASC member Conrad Hall. Moore recalled, "The people who made decisions in the movie business were very stodgy at the time. We took the camera around to all the heads of camera department at the studios, but no one was interested, and we went bust very quickly."

Shortly after that, Moore was introduced to Robert Gottschalk by a mutual friend. Gottschalk had been experimenting with underwater housings for motion-picture cameras and drew Moore into his efforts. Eventually, they discovered that once cameras were submerged, the coverage of conventional lenses became narrow because of the water's index of refraction. Their various solutions for dealing with this issue led to what became the industry's finest anamorphic projection lenses. It also sparked the creation of Panavision, a company that changed the face of motion-picture production. …

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