Victor J Kemper

Director of photography, Sound mixer, Boom microphone operator
A prolific director of photography whose films run the gamut from broad comedies to character-driven dramas, Victor J. Kemper may not be as well-known as some of his colleagues, but he is a respected and talented ... Read more »
Born: 04/13/1927 in Newark, New Jersey, USA

Filmography

Camera, Film, & Tape (62)

American Pie Presents Band Camp 2005 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

On Golden Pond (Cbs) 2000 - 2001 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Eddie 1996 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Jingle All the Way 1996 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Tommy Boy 1995 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Married to It 1993 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Beethoven 1992 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Another You 1991 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

FX2 - The Deadly Art of Illusion 1991 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Crazy People 1990 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Cohen and Tate 1989 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

See No Evil, Hear No Evil 1989 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Hot to Trot 1988 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Walk Like a Man 1987 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Clue 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

National Lampoon's European Vacation 1985 (Movie)

(U.S. Crew) (Director of Photography)

Pee-Wee's Big Adventure 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Secret Admirer 1985 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Atlanta Child Murders 1984 - 1985 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Cloak and Dagger 1984 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Lonely Guy 1984 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Mr. Mom 1983 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

National Lampoon's Vacation 1983 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Author! Author! 1982 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Chu Chu and the Philly Flash 1981 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Partners 1981 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Four Seasons 1981 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Night of the Juggler 1980 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Final Countdown 1980 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

And Justice For All 1979 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Jerk 1979 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Xanadu 1979 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Coma 1978 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Eyes of Laura Mars 1978 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Magic 1978 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Audrey Rose 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Oh, God! 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Slap Shot 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The One and Only 1977 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Prince of Central Park 1976 - 1977 (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Mikey and Nicky 1976 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Stay Hungry 1976 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Dog Day Afternoon 1975 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Last Tycoon 1975 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Reincarnation of Peter Proud 1974 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Gordon's War 1973 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Shamus 1973 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Friends of Eddie Coyle 1973 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Gambler 1973 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

From The Mixed-Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler 1972 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Last of the Red Hot Lovers 1972 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Candidate 1972 (Movie)

(Cinematographer)

The Hospital 1971 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

They Might Be Giants 1971 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Husbands 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

The Magic Garden of Stanley Sweetheart 1970 (Movie)

(Director of Photography)

Alice's Restaurant 1969 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Me, Natalie 1969 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Charly 1968 (Movie)

(Camera Operator)

Kojak: The Price of Justice (TV Show)

Director of Photography

Too Rich: the Secret Life of Doris Duke (TV Show)

Director of Photography
Actor (2)

Cinematographer Style 2005 (Movie)

(Actor)

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

Himself (Actor)

Biography

A prolific director of photography whose films run the gamut from broad comedies to character-driven dramas, Victor J. Kemper may not be as well-known as some of his colleagues, but he is a respected and talented practitioner of his craft. Born and raised in Newark, NJ, he began his career in the nascent television industry in the late 1940s, working as a sound mixer, sound recorder, floor manager and technical director. After a brief detour operating a hat manufacturing factory with a cousin in Florida, Kemper returned to New Jersey and his true calling. When he learned of a training course offered by Ampex on their new videotape system, he asked his employer to pay for the training. When the station manager refused, Kemper quit his job and spent his own money for the classes. When he returned East, he was the only freelance worker in the NYC area with knowledge of the system and therefore was in demand. EUE, a respected commercial production company hired him in a technical capacity and he remained there until Screen Gems purchased the company and closed the video department. Forming VJK Productions, Kemper operated his own company for about two years before his main backer died.

By this time, Kemper had developed contacts and several cinematographers offered him work as an assistant cameraman. Apprenticing with Arthur J. Ornitz, Kemper worked on such films as the ballet version of "A Midsummer Night's Dream" (1966), "Charly" (1968) and "Me, Natalie" (1969). John Cassavetes hired him as standby cinematographer for "Husbands" (1970) and when noted Italian cinematographer Aldo Tonti dropped out, Kemper stepped in. Remaining based in the East, the cinematographer worked on a couple of films before Hollywood finally beckoned. His first feature shot on studio soundstages was "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers" (1972). Proving adept at both dramatic and comedic material, Kemper remained active for the better part of the next three decades, shooting such seminal films as "The Candidate" (1972), with its documentary-like hand-held shots, "Dog Day Afternoon" (1975), with its gritty, urban look, and "Slapshot" (1977), with its quick cuts and washed-out images. He has a stated preference for comedies and his work on such films as "The Jerk" (1979), "The Four Seasons" (1981), "Crazy People" (1990), "Beethoven" (1992) and "Jingle All the Way" (1996) has assisted in making those films appreciable by moviegoers. After serving as president of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) from 1993 to 1996, Kemper was honored with the 1998 ASC Lifetime Achievement Award.

Relationships

Louis Kemper

Father

Florence Kemper

Mother

Florence Kemper

Daughter

Jan Kemper

Daughter

Steven Kemper

Son

Claire Kemper

Wife
married on May 24, 1953

EDUCATION

Seton Hall University

South Orange , New Jersey

Milestones

1996

Served as cinematographer for "Jingle All the Way"

1992

Appeared as one of the interviewees in the documentary "Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography"

1990

Was director of photography on "Crazy People"

1987

Garnered an Emmy nomination for his work on the TV-movie "

1986

Shot the acclaimed TV-movie "The Atlanta Child Murders" (CBS)

1985

Collaborated with Tim Burton on "Pee-wee's Big Adventure"

1981

Provided the memorable look to "The Four Seasons"

1979

Was cinematographer for "The Jerk"

1977

Shot the hockey comedy-drama "Slapshot"

1977

TV-movie debut as director of photography, "The Prince of Central Park" (CBS)

1975

Served as director of photography for Sidney Lumet's "Dog Day Afternoon"

1972

First Hollywood picture "The Last of the Red Hot Lovers"

1972

Won praise for his work on "The Candidate"

1968

Hired to replace Aldo Tonti as cinematographer for John Cassavetes' "Husbands" (film released in 1970)

1967

Operated the camera for Michael Nebbia on "Alice's Restaurant"

1964

First credit as camera operator, "A Midsummer Night's Dream", shot by Ornitz

1943

Served in the US military during WWII

Returned to Newark and work in TV production

Served as president of the American Society of Cinematographers

Operated his own video production company in Manhattan, VJK Productions

Served as vice president of engineering at General Television Network, NYC

Apprenticed with Arthur J Ornitz, working as assistant cameraman and later camera operator

Employed by EUE, a commercial production company, as technical supervisor

Worked as a TV engineer at Channel 13 in Newark, NJ, operating a sound boom and working as a sound mixer, floor manager and technical director in the late 1940s and early 1950s

Spent his own money for a two-week course in Ampex videotape systems when his employer wouldn't pay for the class

Born and raised in Newark, New Jersey

Briefly worked in partnership with a cousin, operating a hat manufacturing factory in Florida

Bonus Trivia

.

"There are lots of stories I haven't told, and directors and actors I'd like to work with, but at the top of my list, I'd love to shoot a western. If you know someone with a western story that is worth telling, give them my name." --Victor Kemper in DAILY VARIETY, March 6, 1998

.

On shooting a comedy: "Timing is essential. The reactions of people in the cast, the scenery and environment are all part of every joke. Everyone in the cast has to be lloking in the right place at the right time, and responding flawlessly. That requires rehearsals, but if you over prepare, the humor loses its edge and it's not funny any more." --Kemper quoted in AMERICAN CINEMATOGRAPHER, February 1998

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