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Gregg Toland
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    (May 29, 1904-September 28, 1948)
    Born in Charleston, Illinois
    Known for his ‘deep focus’ shots showing objects in the background as clear as objects in the foreground
    Won the Oscar for Black & White Cinematography for ‘Wuthering Heights’ (1939)
    Also nominated for ‘Les Miserables’ (1935), ‘Dead End’ (1937), ‘Intermezzo’ (1939), ‘The Long Voyage Home’ (1940) and ‘Citizen Kane’ (1941)
    Won the Oscar for Documentary Short Subject for ‘December 7th: The Movie’ (co-directed with John Ford, 1943)
    He got his first Hollywood job --- as an office boy at William Fox Studios – because his mom was a housekeeper for several people in the movie business.
    He married his second wife less than two months after divorcing his first wife.
    When his house caught on fire, he was so wrapped up in his work that he asked an assistant to go and rescue his stamp collection for him.
    When he was hired to film ‘The Goldwyn Follies’ (1938) in Technicolor despite all his previous work being in black and white, Sam Goldwyn explained, ‘Toland always photographs color. It just comes out back and white.’
    He helped develop a way to quiet the whirring of movie cameras so they could leave the soundproof booths they had been confined to in the early days of talkies.
    He worked with engineers at Caltech to improve camera lenses.
    While filming ‘Citizen Kane,’ he secretly advised Orson Welles about camera placement and lighting effects to avoid embarrassing the first-time director in front of the experienced crew.
    Welles and Ford both thought so highly of his work that they put his cinematography credit on the same card as their director credit.
    The International Cinematographers Guild named him one of the ten most influential cinematographers in film history (2003).

Credit: C. Fishel

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