A versatile cinematographer, native Texan John A Alonzo began his career at a Dallas television station where he created the character of Senor Turtle for a local children's show. When he brought the tortoise to Hollywood, he found the West Coast inimical to the program and fell back on acting after its cancellation. Although he appeared in "The Magnificent Seven" (1960) and had bigger roles in lesser films like "The Long Rope" (1961) and "Terror at Black Falls" (1962), Alonzo soon found his acting taking a back seat to the still photography that was paying the bills in between parts. He began to devote himself to the study of cinematography, favoring the work of such standards of excellence as Walter Strenge, Floyd Crosby, Winton Hoch and James Wong Howe. In fact, it was Howe who gave him his big break as a camera operator on John Frankenheimer's "Seconds" (1966) as well as sponsoring him for union membership (seconded by Frankenheimer). In short order, Alonzo got his first job as director of photography on Roger Corman's "Bloody Mama" (1970).