Written by Nikki Baughan Wednesday, 22 April 2009 18:39
Oscar-winning British filmmaker Jack Cardiff has died today, at the age of 94. Lauded as one of the best in the business by luminaries ranging from Lauren Bacall to Marilyn Monroe, who described him as 'one of the best in the world', Cardiff lensed many classics including The Red Shoes, Black Narcissus and The African Queen. During a career spanning over 80 years, Cardiff was nominated for four Oscars, taking home the award for Best Cinematography for his work on Black Narcissus in 1948. He was also given an honourary statuette in 2001, as recognition for his huge contribution to cinema.
Cardiff's parents both worked in music halls, and so he was born into the world of entertainment. He made the move into features in 1928 - at the tender age of 14 - working as a runner on the drama The Informer. Becoming fascinated with the movie making process, Cardiff soon became a camera operator and then a cinematographer. And just nine years later he shot Wings of Morning (1937), the first British film to be made in Technicolor and Cardiff's first project as credited cinematographer.
Cardiff soon became one of the most highly respected DoPs in the business, and went on to work on some true classic from The Barefoot Contessa and The Prince and the Showgirl to The Awakening, Conan the Destroyer and Rambo II.
He also made the move into directing, making his debut in 1953 with The Story of William Tell and going on to helm films such as The Mercenaries, The Girl on a Motorcycle and Sons and Lovers
Cardiff was made an OBE in 2000.