Dedications: My four late friends Rory, Stan, Bryan, Jeff - shine on you crazy diamonds, they would have blogged too. Then theres Garry from Brisbane, Franco in Milan, Mike now in S.F. / my '60s-'80s gang: Ned & Joseph in Ireland; in England: Frank, Des, Guy, Clive, Joe & Joe, Ian, Ivan, Nick, David, Les, Stewart, the 3 Michaels / Catriona, Sally, Monica, Jean, Ella, Anne, Candie / and now: Daryl in N.Y., Jerry, John, Colin, Martin and Donal.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

Bob Willoughby - The Hollywood Special

I only found out yesterday that Bob Willoughby, that stills photographer who snapped all the greats during the '50s and '60s died in 2009 aged 82, so I am taking a moment to celebrate a great career and life. His book "The Hollywood Special" published in 1992 is one of the better collections and recollections of that great era of photo-journalism, of magazines like LOOK and LIFE, when one had the likes of Magnum photographer Eve Arnold covering the shooting of THE MISFITS and the like, as the demand grew for candid photos of the stars on location. Willoughby seems to have been on the set of all the major movies of the '50s and into the '60s and forged friendships particularly with Audrey Hepburn (he has a separate book on her), Monroe, Taylor, Dean et al. (Eve Arnold too has published a book on her Monroe pictures, and a great book of her studio photographs and memories, FILM JOURNAL - more on that one later).

Willoughby's book has stunning pictures of James Dean, Ray, Wood on the set of REBEL WITHOUT A CAUSE, Marilyn on various films including some iconic images of her, those very '50s photos of Taylor and Clift on location for RAINTREE COUNTY, some good images from BONJOUR TRISTESSE of Vivien Leigh visiting the set, Garland on A STAR IS BORN, Jane Fonda in that sequin dress in KLUTE, and so many others including some perfect Audrey Hepburn images. He captures show people at ease on the set or at that moment of creation. There's Kim Novak, Julie Christie, those pictures of Elvis and Sophia Loren, Bogart, Bacall, Taylor with Dietrich, and others including jazz musicians like Chet Baker. Tony Curtis writes an introduction here and Willoughby was well liked by all those movie people. Like writer Peter Viertel he was one of those mavericks on the Hollywood inside track. After his Hollywood years he moved with his family to a castle in County Cork, Ireland for 17 years, publishing a book on Irish poetry, and ended his days in the South of France. Cheers to a hero of mine then. Right, Bob with MM on NIAGARA.

A second Willoughby book has arrived: HOLLYWOOD, A JOURNEY THROUGH THE STARS being a photographic autobiography by Bob, published in 2001 exanding on his amazing career and travels and his love of Ireland, and detailing those lasting friendships he had with Audrey Hepburn, Jean Seberg, Taylor, Garland etc and covering cultural life since the '50s starting with jazz and studies of the likes of Miles Davis and Billie Holliday, and the young Barbra Streisand. Great pictures too, including the shoot of THE LION IN WINTER with some great Hepburn shots! Some people just have amazing lives: Bob also baby-sitted Dustin Hoffman when Dustin was a kid, as the Willoughbys lived nearby!

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