|Date of Birth||22 August 1892, Denver, Colorado, USA|
|Date of Death||1 August 1985, Las Vegas, Nevada, USA|
|Birth Name||Joseph Bailey Walker|
Mini Bio (1)
Frank Capra's favourite cinematographer began his working life as an electrical engineer who collaborated with Lee De Forest on building the first wireless transmitter. However, it was his interest in moving picture photography which led him to work in film laboratories, where his numerous pioneering inventions included the first lens adjustment mechanisms (zoom lenses), a camera and flash lamp synchronizing device, oblique image superimposition projection devices and a panoramic television camera. During World War I, Walker gained valuable hands-on experience filming aerial scenes, newsreels and other documentary footage, often for the Red Cross or Gaumont News. All the while, he continued to accumulate patents, such as the Double Exposure System and the Facial Make-Up Meter.
Once qualified as a lighting cameraman, Walker started to work in Hollywood. His first film, Back to God's Country (1919), was shot under difficult conditions near the Arctic Circle. After involvement in several low budget affairs as a free-lance cinematographer, he joined Columbia in 1927. Walker was to have a profound impact in elevating the status of this studio during the next two decades, inextricably linked with Columbia's best and commercially most successful films, until his retirement in 1952. His first assignment was a rather modest affair, however: the early sound film Submarine (1928), produced at the relatively modest budget of $150,000. Walker and director Capra worked out a way to use miniature toys and a discarded aquarium found in the props department to conjure up 'special effects'. An artistic understanding developed between the two men, and, from Capra's picture Flight (1929), Walker worked on each of the director's films for the next decade, winning an Academy Award nomination for You Can't Take It with You (1938).
An expert craftsman in composition, camera movement and perspective, and consummately skilled in the use of wide-angle and zoom lenses (of which he had a vast personal collection), Walker also excelled at lighting his sets. His most memorable scenes include the moonlit hayfield of It Happened One Night (1934), the torchlit funeral procession of Lost Horizon (1937) and, of course, George Bailey running along the snow-covered main street of Bedford Falls in It's a Wonderful Life (1946). Known in the industry as a 'woman's photographer', he also captured the best attributes of his leading ladies through his close-ups, shot with his own patented 4-inch lenses. Though he worked primarily on black-and-white features, Joe Walker was equally adept at the medium of colour and won his third of four Oscar nominations for Columbia's A-grade biopic, The Jolson Story (1946).
After his retirement, Walker's ever-active mind developed and manufactured the Electro-Zoom Lens for RCA (expanding on his earlier, basic design of 1932), later used as standard equipment by TV cameramen in the 1960's. In 1982, he became the inaugural recipient of the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, bestowed by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for outstanding technological contributions to the industry. He detailed his memoirs two years later in his autobiography, entitled, "The Light on Her Face".
- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis
|Marjorie Warfield||(c. 1923 - 1935) (divorced)|
|Juanita Walker||(? - ?)|