William H. Daniels

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William H. Daniels (born December 1, 1901 in Cleveland , Ohio , † June 14, 1970 in Los Angeles , California ) was an American cameraman . He became known as " Garbo's cameraman" as he was responsible for almost all of her films.


William Daniels began his career in 1917 as a camera assistant at Triangle and rose to become chief cameraman at Universal in 1918 , where he was responsible for most of Erich von Stroheim's films . Together with Irving Thalberg , he moved to the newly founded MGM in 1924 , for which he worked until 1943. He first met Greta Garbo while filming Floods of Passion and immediately recognized the special qualities of her face. He insisted on taking the actress in close-ups and mostly dispensed with long shots and long shots . Due to the actress's shyness, he insisted on the studio that filming in the studio would be closed to all visitors. He also gave her his instructions almost in a whisper, but achieved a basis of trust that far exceeded the cooperation of most other stars with their cameraman. With the exception of Maria Walewska from 1937, Daniels was responsible for all of Greta Garbo's major productions. He was indispensable for this film, as the shooting of Marie-Antoinette with Norma Shearer was delayed and Shearer was under no circumstances willing to do without Daniels.

Within a short period of time, Daniels became the studio's most sought-after cameraman and many female stars sought his services. He shot with Joan Crawford , Marion Davies , Jeanette MacDonald , Myrna Loy and Norma Shearer. Daniels made a decisive contribution to the typical MGM look: very soft skylight, generous, bright lighting, many close-ups and almost no shadows. After a long period of illness Daniels moved again in 1947 to Universal, where he for the unusually intense chiaroscuro photography in 1948 city without a mask of Jules Dassin the Academy Award for Best Cinematography in a black and white film received. It was the second nomination after 1930. In 1958 and 1964 there was a further nomination for this award, this time in the category camera work for a color film. He worked as a cameraman until the end.

From 1961 to 1963 was President of the American Society of Cinematographers .

Filmography (selection)


Oscar / Best Cinematography

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