George Hurrell’s photos of Oscar winners
A siren’s slipping shoulder strap, a leading man’s seady stare, all captured in abold interplay of light and shadow — the photographs of George Hurrell are the very definition of Hollywood glamour. Since he first began shooting stars in 1926, Hurrell, now 86, has coaxed the seductive allure out of generations of screen gods and goddesses, including the Academy Award — winning alum here. He has also trained his 4-by-5 view camera on such latter-day luminaries as Joan Collins, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Diana Ross, and Brooke Shields. Prints of Hurrell’s vintage photos can fetch upward of $20,000 apiece, and these days a sitting with him is more difficult to come by than the Oscar statuette he photographed exclusively for ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY. ”I’m retired from photography,” insists Hurrell, who is considerably more down-to-earth than his elegant works might suggest. ”I just get pulled out when I’m offered something interesting.” With the exception of Kathleen Turner (”Boy, there’s an actress!”), he isn’t especially high on Hollywood’s current crop. And he won’t be found at the Academy Awards on March 25. ”You can see it much better on television,” he says.
Despite the iconic sensuality of his pictures, Hurrell says he was ”half clown” at work in his studio. ”I’d play music and dance and sing and holler to get the people offbeat. And the I’d catch ’em.” A prize catch: a rare photo of Garbo laughing, which he got when he tripped over a cable and fell flat on his face.