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Bob Willoughby

United States Born in: 1927

Bob Willoughby (1927 – 2009) was a true pioneer of 20th century photography. He was the first 'outside' photographer to be hired by the Hollywood film studios to capture the moments of production on set and is the man widely credited with creating the motion picture 'still' we see everywhere today.

With sitters that included everyone from Frank Sinatra to Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley to Audrey Hepburn, this innovative American photographer changed the way that movie stars would be portrayed forever.

His genius was in his ability to document the course of each movie he photographed - he captured, with wonderful perception, the actors and directors on and off the set, in moments of rest and of high drama.

In many ways Willoughby invented the celebrity portrait as it exists today, casting the candid eye of the camera across the most famous faces to see them with renewed vitality. Hugely influential, this approach was emulated subsequently by the likes of Brian Duffy and Terence Donovan.

Bob was given an Argus C-3 camera for his twelfth birthday, providing the catalyst for what would become the key to his future. He studied cinema at the University of Southern California, and worked under the renowned film-maker Saul Bass at the Kahn Institute of Art whilst doing apprenticeships with Hollywood photographers.

Willoughby's reportage style portraits of Jazz icons such as Chet Baker, Louis Armstrong and Miles Davies caught the attention of Harper's Bazaar who gave him his first fashion magazine assignment in the early 50's. His career really took off in 1954 when Warner Bros. asked him to photograph Judy Garland's final scene on the set of A Star Is Born - this portrait of the star became his first Life cover and her second. This began a non-stop collaboration with the publicity departments of all the major Hollywood studios - Willoughby went from strength to strength from that point on and he quickly became one of the most sought after photographers of his time. In fact, remarkably Willoughby's work was never out of print for even a week throughout a 20-year period.

Bob Willoughby carried his creativity to other photographic realms too. In order to surmount the challenges of working on film sets, Willoughby became a technical innovator, using radio-controlled cameras for complicated and difficult sets, devising various brackets to hold a stills camera onto a Panavision camera and inventing the silent blimp for 35mm stills cameras so that he could photograph silently on set.

He would immerse himself with the film crew and use remote control cameras to achieve the most naturalistic images of the actors and directors at work. Willoughby's spontaneous approach broke with the traditional, staid Hollywood portrait and produced 'new' images of a rare intimacy that lay bare the vulnerabilities of the stars. Whilst some are full of bravado and playfulness, others are tinged with shyness and anxiety.

Willoughby continued to photograph for the rest of his life, living his last years in Vence, France, where he continued a very active professional life until he died in 2009.

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honoured Willoughby in 1998 with a major retrospective and he won the Lucie Award for Outstanding Achievement in Still Photography in 2004. Willoughby's photography has been published and exhibited extensively. His photographs are held in major collections worldwide including the National Portrait Gallery, Washington D.C.; the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York; the Museum of Modern Art, New York; the National Portrait Gallery, London; the Tate Collection, London; and the Bibliotheque Nationale, Paris.

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Bob Willoughby, Audrey Hepburn gets into the studio car after a long day at Paramount Studios, her first trip to Hollywood after filming 'Roman Holiday', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Audrey Hepburn gets into the studio car after a long day at Paramount Studios, her first trip to Hollywood after filming 'Roman Holiday', 1953
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 6,899

Bob Willoughby, Chet Baker listens to playback whilst recording with Gerry Mulligan, Los Angeles, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Chet Baker listens to playback whilst recording with Gerry Mulligan, Los Angeles, 1953
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Jane Fonda strikes a pose on location for 'Klute", Photography

Bob Willoughby

Jane Fonda strikes a pose on location for 'Klute", 1970
16 x 29 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Audrey Hepburn at her hotel window after a long day of publicity photos at Paramount Studios. Her first trip to Hollywood after filming 'Roman Holiday', Los Angeles, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Audrey Hepburn at her hotel window after a long day of publicity photos at Paramount Studios. Her first trip to Hollywood after filming 'Roman Holiday', Los Angeles, 1953
12 x 9.5 inch
Photography

$ 4,066

Bob Willoughby, Audrey Hepburn, on Telephone, Paramount Studios, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Audrey Hepburn, on Telephone, Paramount Studios, 1953
24 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 3,511

Bob Willoughby, Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly, on the set of 'High Society' at MGM Studios, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Louis Armstrong, Bing Crosby & Grace Kelly, on the set of 'High Society' at MGM Studios, 1950
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Our recommendations Bob Willoughby, Frank Sinatra on the set of 'Marriage On The Rocks', Warner Brothers, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Frank Sinatra on the set of 'Marriage On The Rocks', Warner Brothers, 1965
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Audrey Hepburn holds Ip during pre-production for 'Green Mansions', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Audrey Hepburn holds Ip during pre-production for 'Green Mansions', 1958
10 x 8 inch
Photography

$ 493

Bob Willoughby, Steve McQueen on location for 'Junior Bonner', Arizona, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Steve McQueen on location for 'Junior Bonner', Arizona, 1971
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Louis Armstrong relaxing on the set of 'High Society', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Louis Armstrong relaxing on the set of 'High Society', 1956
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 6,899

Bob Willoughby, Kim Novak on the set of 'The Man With The Golden Arm', RKO Studios, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Kim Novak on the set of 'The Man With The Golden Arm', RKO Studios, 1955
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 11,458

Bob Willoughby, Elvis Presley & Sophia Loren at the Paramount commissary, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Elvis Presley & Sophia Loren at the Paramount commissary, 1958
20 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 3,511

Bob Willoughby, Mia Farrow perched long legged on the scaffolding of 'Rosemary’s Baby' during filming at Paramount Studios, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Mia Farrow perched long legged on the scaffolding of 'Rosemary’s Baby' during filming at Paramount Studios, 1967
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Michael Caine on the set of 'Gambit', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Michael Caine on the set of 'Gambit', 1965
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Rock Hudson in his dressing room during the filming of 'One Desire', Universal Studios, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Rock Hudson in his dressing room during the filming of 'One Desire', Universal Studios, 1955
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Sophia Loren surrounded by dress forms at the Paramount Studios wardrobe department, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Sophia Loren surrounded by dress forms at the Paramount Studios wardrobe department, 1958
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Cole Porter posing in his Beverly Hills home, 1954, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Cole Porter posing in his Beverly Hills home, 1954, 1954
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Billie Holiday singing her plaintive songs at the Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Billie Holiday singing her plaintive songs at the Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, 1951
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Alfred Hitchcock on the Universal Studios set of ‘Marnie’, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Alfred Hitchcock on the Universal Studios set of ‘Marnie’, 1964
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Sean Connery on the set of Hitchcock’s 'Marnie', Universal Studios, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Sean Connery on the set of Hitchcock’s 'Marnie', Universal Studios, 1964
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Elizabeth Taylor glamour portrait, Palm Springs, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Elizabeth Taylor glamour portrait, Palm Springs, 1951
12 x 9.5 inch
Photography

$ 1,786

Our recommendations Bob Willoughby, Elizabeth Taylor in red bathing suit during filming on 'Raintree County', 1956, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Elizabeth Taylor in red bathing suit during filming on 'Raintree County', 1956, 1956
12 x 9.5 inch
Photography

$ 1,786

Our recommendations Bob Willoughby, Elisabeth Taylor on the MGM backlot during filming on 'Raintree County', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Elisabeth Taylor on the MGM backlot during filming on 'Raintree County', 1956
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Elizabeth Taylor looking a little star struck, meeting Marlene Dietrich on the set of 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Elizabeth Taylor looking a little star struck, meeting Marlene Dietrich on the set of 'Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?', 1965
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Elisabeth Taylor tries to keep warm on the set for 'Raintree County', 1965, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Elisabeth Taylor tries to keep warm on the set for 'Raintree County', 1965, 1965
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, The Rat Pack - Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr & Dean Martin photographed in front of the Sands Hotel where they were appearing at 'The Summit at the Sands" at night and filming 'Ocean's 11' during the day, Las Vegas, 1960, Photography

Bob Willoughby

The Rat Pack - Frank Sinatra, Peter Lawford, Sammy Davis Jr & Dean Martin photographed in front of the Sands Hotel where they were appearing at 'The Summit at the Sands" at night and filming 'Ocean's 11' during the day, Las Vegas, 1960, 1960
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft on a specially constructed set on 'The Graduate', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Dustin Hoffman & Anne Bancroft on a specially constructed set on 'The Graduate', 1967
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Our recommendations Bob Willoughby, James Dean reading on the set of 'Rebel Without A Cause', Photography

Bob Willoughby

James Dean reading on the set of 'Rebel Without A Cause', 1955
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Lauren Bacall at her home in Beverly Hills, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Lauren Bacall at her home in Beverly Hills, 1958
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Frank Sinatra at the craps tables at the Sands Hotel during the filming of 'Ocean’s 11', Las Vegas, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Frank Sinatra at the craps tables at the Sands Hotel during the filming of 'Ocean’s 11', Las Vegas, 1960
20 x 24 inch
Photography

$ 3,511

Bob Willoughby, Big Jay McNeely drives the crowd wild at the Olympic Auditorium, downtown Los Angeles, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Big Jay McNeely drives the crowd wild at the Olympic Auditorium, downtown Los Angeles, 1951
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 6,899

Bob Willoughby, Chet Baker after recording with Gerry Mulligan, Los Angeles, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Chet Baker after recording with Gerry Mulligan, Los Angeles, 1956
16 x 20 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Sylvester Stallone with a backdrop of villain Rutger Hauer filming 'Nighthawks', Photography

Bob Willoughby

Sylvester Stallone with a backdrop of villain Rutger Hauer filming 'Nighthawks', 1980
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Dirk Bogarde taking a well earned break on the set of 'I Could Go On Singing', Shepperton Studios, UK, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Dirk Bogarde taking a well earned break on the set of 'I Could Go On Singing', Shepperton Studios, UK, 1962
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 6,899

Bob Willoughby, Rutger Hauer on the set of 'Nighthawks', New York, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Rutger Hauer on the set of 'Nighthawks', New York, 1980
16 x 12 inch
Photography

$ 6,899

Bob Willoughby, Montgomery Clift smokes quietly in the shadows on location for MGM's ‘Raintree County’, Danville Kentucky, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Montgomery Clift smokes quietly in the shadows on location for MGM's ‘Raintree County’, Danville Kentucky, 1956
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Bob Willoughby, Barbara Streisand in the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Barbara Streisand in the pool at the Beverly Hills Hotel, 1963
20 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 2,341

Bob Willoughby, Julie Christie on location for 'Petulia', San Francisco, Photography

Bob Willoughby

Julie Christie on location for 'Petulia', San Francisco, 1967
12 x 16 inch
Photography

$ 5,791

Shooting Stars: Iconic Images of Hollywood's Golden Age

ElliottHalls Gallery

Shooting Stars: Iconic Images of Hollywood's Golden Age
From November 17, 2018 To February 2, 2019

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