Gordon Willis

Director of photography, Still photographer, Director
Born into a motion picture family (his father was a make-up artist at the Warner Bros. studio in Brooklyn), pioneering director of photography Gordon Willis began as a still photographer and spent four years in the ... Read more »
Born: 05/28/1931 in Astoria, New York, USA

Filmography

Camera, Film, & Tape (34)

The Devil's Own 1997 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Malice 1993 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Presumed Innocent 1990 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Godfather, Part III 1990 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Pick-Up Artist 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Money Pit 1986 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Perfect 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Purple Rose of Cairo 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Broadway Danny Rose 1984 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Zelig 1983 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

A Midsummer Night's Sex Comedy 1982 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Pennies From Heaven 1981 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Stardust Memories 1980 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Windows 1980 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Manhattan 1979 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Comes a Horseman 1978 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Interiors 1978 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

9/30/55 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Annie Hall 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

All the President's Men 1976 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Drowning Pool 1974 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Godfather, Part II 1974 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Parallax View 1974 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Paper Chase 1973 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Bad Company 1972 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Godfather 1972 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Up the Sandbox 1972 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Klute 1971 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Little Murders 1971 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Loving 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The End of the Road 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Landlord 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The People Next Door 1969 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Lost Honor of Kathryn Beck (TV Show)

Director of Photography
Actor (4)

Fog City Mavericks 2007 - 2008 (TV Show)

Actor

Cinematographer Style 2005 (Movie)

(Actor)

Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography 1993 (Movie)

Himself (Actor)
Director (1)

Windows 1980 (Movie)

(Director)

Biography

Born into a motion picture family (his father was a make-up artist at the Warner Bros. studio in Brooklyn), pioneering director of photography Gordon Willis began as a still photographer and spent four years in the motion picture unit of the US Air Force, photographing instructional films on topics ranging from survival in the jungle to how to use a machine gun. After military service, he worked in NYC as a cameraman on documentaries and commercials before getting his first opportunity to work as cinematographer on Aram Avakian's "The End of the Road" (1970, adapted from the novel by John Barth), for which he attracted some attention with the tour-de-force psychedelic montages he managed to execute at minimal expense. Though he drew praise for his color lensing on Hal Ashby's flashy directorial debut "The Landlord" (also 1970) and for his artfully composed shots in "Klute" (1971, his first of six collaborations with Alan J. Pakula) which masked off much of the frame width to emphasize a point, he first came to prominence for his contribution to Francis Ford Coppola's "The Godfather" (1972) and "The Godfather Part II" (1974). Although Willis retired in the late 1990s, he remained so respected among cinema fans that his 2014 death brought a slew of tributes and remembrances.

Relationships

Helen Willis

Wife
married c. 1966

EDUCATION

Manhasset High School

Manhasset , New York

Milestones

1997

Sixth and last film with Pakula, "The Devil's Own"

1993

Worked with Harold Becker on the suspenseful thriller "Malice"

1990

Reteamed with Pakula for "Presumed Innocent"

1990

Earned second Oscar nomination for "The Godfather, Part III", directed by Coppola

1988

Last film with Bridges, "Bright Lights, Big City", adapted by Jay McInerney from his novel

1985

Eighth and last screen collaboration (to date) with Woody Allen, "The Purple Rose of Cairo"

1985

Was cinematographer for the film sequences of the Broadway production of "Singin' in the Rain"

1983

Received first Academy Award nomination for Allen's "Zelig"

1980

Sole feature directing credit, "Windows"; also served as director of photography

1977

First collaboration with Woody Allen, "Annie Hall"

1976

Created the contrasting worlds of the newspaper offices and the dark underbelly of politics in Pakula's "All the President's Men"

1974

Shot Pakula's thriller "The Parallax View"

1974

Reteamed with Coppola for "The Godfather, Part II"

1973

First of four collaborations with writer-director James Bridges, "The Paper Chase"

1972

Created the shadowy world of "The Godfather" for Francis Ford Coppola

1970

Initial collaboration with Alan J Pakula, "Klute"

1969

Was director of photography for Hal Ashby's feature directorial debut, "The Landlord"

1969

First feature film as director of photography, "End of the Road", based on the John Barth novel

Introduced to film as a member of the motion picture unit of the US Air Force during Korean War-era service; subsequently worked as cameraman on documentaries and commercials

Performed two seasons in summer stock at Gloucester, Massachusetts; also built scenery

Bonus Trivia

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Received an honoray Doctor of Humane Letters from Bucknell University in 1982

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