British photographic history

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Obituary: George Courtney Ward, aged 93 years

The Bournemouth Echo reported that photographer George Courtney Ward has died. Courtney Ward who died at his home in Westbourne on Tuesday, February 15, aged 93, photographed some of the most famous names in cinema during his 30 years working at Pinewood Studios in Buckinghamshire. Dirk Bogarde, Michael Caine, Frank Sinatra, Lauren Bacall, Alec Guinness and Kenneth More were just some of the screen stars in George’s portfolio. Examples of his portraits are in the National Portrait Gallery Collection (http://www.npg.org.uk/collections/search/person.php?firstRun=true&a...)

He was understood to be a good friend of Lord Attenborough and worked on some of the best-loved British films, including The Ipcress File,  Oliver Twist in 1948, This Sporting Life in 1963 and Great Expectations in 1946, and also designed the artwork for Brief Encounter.

George was born in Christchurch in 1917 and grew up in the town before becoming a stills photographer at Pinewood. At first he commuted, but shortly moved to Fulmer in Buckinghamshire with his mother and aunt. After more than 30 years working at Pinewood, George moved to Elstree studios in 1969 when the photographic department was closed down. But when that studio was taken over in 1972, he decided to sell his house, retire and move back down to Bournemouth. 

George had no close family, but his dearest friend, John Smith, remembers him as his “second father”. The pair met while they were both working in the photographic department at Elstree. “He was a very independent man and he had a great love of music,” remembers John, who would visit George regularly and phone him almost every day.  “He had a wonderful knowledge of music, going back to the 1930 and 1940s, and musical films, he had a great love of that as well. One of his idols was Dick Powell.”  John, who lives in Hertfordshire with his wife Beryl, added: “He was a wonderful listener with a great sense of humour.

Gorge’s funeral takes place at 12pm on Tuesday March 8 Bournemouth Crematorium.

For a full report see: http://www.bournemouthecho.co.uk/news/8876347.Celebrity_photographe...

and see: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0911557/ for a resume of his career and films he worked on

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