Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Celebrity Grave: MGM Stills/Portrait Photographer Clarence Sinclair Bull 1979

 
Clarence Bull (May 23, 1896 - June 8, 1979), usually credited as "Clarence Sinclair Bull," was one of the great portrait photographers who worked for the movie studios during the "Golden Age of Hollywood." He was head of the Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer stills department for nearly forty years.

As head of MGM's Stills Department from 1924 to 1960, he pioneered celebrity portraiture with his alluring, mysteriously-lit images. Bull was Greta Garbo's favorite photographer and she posed for him almost exclusively for most of her career. His other famous subjects included Clark Gable, Joan Crawford, Katharine Hepburn, Ava Gardner, Elizabeth Taylor, and Grace Kelly. He also experimented with early color photography in his stills for "The Wizard of Oz" (1939) and "Gone With the Wind" (1939). Bull was born in Sun River, Montana. He studied painting with Charles Marion Russell but gravitated to photography in his early 20s. In 1918 he joined Metro Pictures and set up one of the film industry's first in-house portrait studios. Bull published a memoir, "The Faces of Hollywood" (1968). Five of his photographs hang in London's National Portrait Gallery, which held a major retrospective of his work in 1989.

-- Robert Edwards, findagrave.com

 
Clarence Bull is entombed at Westwood Memorial Park in the Sanctuary of Devotion.

 
 
 

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