Ernest Laszlo

Active - 1929 - 1977  |   Born - Apr 23, 1905   |   Died - Jan 6, 1984   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Though his last name revealed his Hungarian heritage, cinematographer Ernest Laszlo claimed Yugoslavia as his birthplace. In the US by age 21, Laszlo began his film career as an assistant cameraman. In 1930, he became a camera operator, after working on the second unit of Howard Hughes' Hell's Angels (1930); ten years later, he was a full-fledged director of photography. Much of his '40s career was spent at Paramount, where he excelled in deep-focus photography, as witness Hold Back the Dawn (1941), The Major and the Minor (1942), and The Hitler Gang (1944). He stayed with Paramount until 1955, then freelanced for several years. Laszlo's most frequent employer during this period was independent producer Stanley Kramer, resulting in such projects as Inherit the Wind (1960), Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), It's a Mad, Mad, Mad, Mad World (1962) and Ship of Fools (1965), the latter film winning Laszlo an Academy Award. From 1972 to 1974, Ernest Laszlo was president of the American Society of Cinematographers.

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