Charles Rosher

Director of photography, Photographer
Pioneering cinematographer who developed many of the "tricks" of "star" lighting, Rosher began his career in London film laboratories, and as photographer to the Court of St. James, before moving to the US in 1908 and ... Read more »
Born: 11/17/1885 in England, GB

Filmography

Camera, Film, & Tape (37)

Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman 1992 - 1993 (Tv Show)

Director of Photography

Elysian Fields 1988 - 1989 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Independence Day 1982 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Heartbeeps 1981 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Nightwing 1979 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Onion Field 1979 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

A Wedding 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Movie Movie 1977 (Movie)

("Dynamite Hands") (Director of Photography)

The Late Show 1976 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Three Women 1976 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Pretty Maids All in a Row 1971 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

Jupiter's Darling 1955 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Kiss Me Kate 1953 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Scaramouche 1952 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

The Story of Three Loves 1952 (Movie)

cinematography (Cinematographer)

The Red Danube 1949 (Movie)

(Photography)

Words and Music 1948 (Movie)

(Photography)

Million Dollar Baby 1940 (Movie)

(Photography)

Brother Rat and a Baby 1939 (Movie)

(Photography)

Hell's Kitchen 1939 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Hollywood Hotel 1938 (Movie)

(Photography)

White Banners 1937 (Movie)

(Photography)

Broadway Melody of 1936 1935 (Movie)

(Photography)

Little Lord Fauntleroy 1935 (Movie)

(Photography)

After Office Hours 1934 (Movie)

dierctor of photography (Photography)

The Call of the Wild 1934 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Bed of Roses 1932 (Movie)

(Photography)

What Price Hollywood? 1931 (Movie)

(Photography)

Dance, Fools, Dance 1930 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Tempest 1927 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Sunrise 1926 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Sparrows 1925 (Movie)

(Photography)

The Love Light 1920 (Movie)

(Photography)

Jake Lassiter: Justice on the Bayou (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Princess Daisy (TV Show)

Director of Photography

The Cat Creature (TV Show)

Director of Photography

The Tenth Month (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Biography

Pioneering cinematographer who developed many of the "tricks" of "star" lighting, Rosher began his career in London film laboratories, and as photographer to the Court of St. James, before moving to the US in 1908 and settling in Hollywood in 1911. Rosher enjoyed two exceptionally creative periods during his 40-year career. In the silent era he was responsible for several important technical innovations, shot several Mary Pickford vehicles (including "Little Lord Fauntleroy" 1921 and "Sparrows" 1926), and was co-photographer, with Karl Struss, of F.W. Murnau's visually haunting "Sunrise" (1927), for which they shared the first Academy Award for cinematography. In the 1940s and 50s, he again asserted himself as one of the foremost artists in his field with the lush color compositions of features such as "Ziegfeld Follies" (1946), "Show Boat" (1951), and "Kiss Me Kate" (1953). To say Rosher is a pioneer of filmmaking is an understatement. While films were first shot in Hollywood in 1908, Rosher arrived and began working in the town in 1911, two years before DeMille and Lasky shot the first feature film. Beginning in 1916 he was, for 12 years, personal DP for Mary Pickford, lighting her so the audience could not tell she was still playing the sweet young thing while far past the age of ingenue. Rosher compiled a list of many classic films, but his mark as a DP rests not on his mastery of lighting, or being able to reveal the internal thoughts of the actors through shadows. Rather, his fame rests on the many innovations attributed to him. Rosher had a keen understanding of the star power of the Hollywood system, and was the first DP to use stand-ins for actors in order to insure "star" lighting. He also developed reflectors to aid towards the same purpose. Rosher also was able to use dummies in action sequences and light and shoot them so the audience was none the wiser, releasing the actors from dangerous stunts. In the 1921 version of "Little Lord Fauntleroy" starring Pickford, Rosher was able to develop the rudiments of the system which allowed Pickford to kiss herself on screen (through split screen). Some sources also credit Rosher as being the first DP to successfully use artificial light to boost the natural sources for outdoor sequences. Among the many classic films on which Rosher was associated were the original "Pollyanna" (1920), "Tess of the Storm Country" (1922), "What Price Hollywood?" (1932), "Little Lord Fauntleroy" (Freddie Bartholomew; 1936), "Neptune's Daughter" (1949), and "Annie Get Your Gun" (1950). Rosher retired from filmmaking in 1960, departed Hollywood and moved to Jamaica, purchasing the Errol Flynn plantation. A founder of the American Society of Cinematographers, he oft appeared at film festivals and lectured at colleges and film schools. Rosher is the father of cinematographer Charles Rosher Jr., who has worked extensively in TV, and actress Joan Marsh, who co-starred in numerous films of the 30s and 40s. In 1938, Rosher was sentenced to a jail term for failing to pay child support to his first wife for Marsh, a case dating back to the early 30s. Rosher claimed that as although Marsh was under 18, she was earning thousands of dollars as an actress and Rosher failed to see why he should give his ex-wife the child support checks.

Relationships

Joan Marsh

Daughter
acted under name of Dorothy Rosher for short period

Doris Rosher

Wife
second wife

Lolita Rosher

Wife
divorced in 1923 mother of Joan Marsh

Charles Rosher

Son
often works on TV programs ("Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman")

Milestones

1960

Retired from filmmaking

1951

Was cinematographer on color "Show Boat"

1946

Won second Academy Award for work on "The Yearling"

1936

Was director of photography on Freddie Bartholomew version of "Little Lord Fauntlerory"

1927

Worked on "Sunrise"; won Academy Award

1919

Was one of the founders of the American Society of Cinematographers

1916

Selected by Mary Pickford as her personal cameraman

1911

Began working in Hollywood

1908

Immigrated to USA

Was a photographer at the Court of St James in the United Kingdom

Bonus Trivia

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Rosher's nickname for Mary Pickford was 'Old Monkey Face'.

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