Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Charles Austin, ASC, 1921-2013

Magazine article American Cinematographer

In Memoriam: Charles Austin, ASC, 1921-2013

Article excerpt

Director of photography Charles Lee "Chuck" Austin, ASC died Jan. 7 at his residence in the Actors Fund Home in Englewood, N.J. He was 91.

Austin was born on Nov. 7, 1921, in New York City, and he grew up in the Bronx, where from an early age he demonstrated an interest in and knack for photography. While in high school, Austin met Yvette Stern, and the two were married in 1943, after Austin enlisted in the U.S. Air Force and just prior to his deployment to the European Theater of Operations. He served as a combat photographer with the 25th Bomb Group of the 8th Air Force.

Following his discharge in 1945, Austin completed the schooling he had begun at City College and Columbia University, attending the Ozenfant School of Fine Arts to study photography. He began his civilian career with advertising and photojournalism assignments before finding work as a consultant to advertising and independent-filmmaking concerns in New York.

In 1950, Austin joined the Mitchell Camera Corp. as a technical representative. Although he was based in New York, he traveled extensively around the globe, visiting productions that were using Mitchell equipment and liaising between the camera technicians on those shows and Mitchell's engineers. In 1952, he joined IATSE Local 644 as a director of photography, but he continued to serve as a consultant for Mitchell, and in 1963, he temporarily relocated to California to assist with a new camera design.

Despite his brief stint in California, Austin's heart belonged on the East Coast, and as a cinematographer based in New York, he contributed second unit and additional photography to such films as The Trouble with Many, The Sweet Smeli of Success, The Manchurian Candidate (1962), Seven Days in May, Plaza Suite and The Way We Were. …

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