January 20, 2017

Bill Fraker goes to Heaven

By Bob Fisher

HollywoodNews.com: Legendary cinematographer William A. Fraker, ASC, BSC went to heaven last Wednesday evening. Fraker was 86 years old. The story of his life and career is like a script for a feel good Hollywood movie.

His grandmother was a teacher in Mexico during the revolution, which brought Pancho Villa into power. She left Mazaltan with Fraker’s future mother and aunt riding mules across the border into California. His mother became a still photographer at a downtown Los Angeles studio. That’s how she met his father who was a still photographer for Columbia Pictures.

Fraker served in the Navy during the Second World War. After the war, he studied filmmaking at USC, financed by the G.I. Bill of Rights. Fraker began his career shooting pickup shots for $25 apiece. He went on to earn some 50 narrative film credits as a cinematographer. Fraker earned Oscar nominations for “Looking For Mr. Goodbar,” “Heaven Can Wait,” “1941,” “War Games” and “Murphy’s Romance,” and one for visual effects for “1941.” He had a seminal affect on the art form. Fraker also taught the current generation of cinematographers at USC. I am sure that “Billy” Fraker is now an angel in heaven watching over us.

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Image by PR Photos.

About Bob Fisher

Bob Fisher was born and raised in Brooklyn. He earned a journalism degree from Long Island University, and began his career as a cub reporter at the New York Herald Tribune. Fisher was drafted into the U.S. Army in mid-1958. He served for two years as a journalist at an army base in Anniston, Alabama.That experience gave him a different view of the world. Several weeks before he was scheduled to complete his military obligation, Fisher answered an ad for a six-month job in Los Angeles writing a book based on interviews with members of the American Society of Cinematographers. Fisher had no idea what cinematographers did. The attraction was getting to see Los Angeles. Fisher estimates that he has subsequently written between 3,000 and 4,000 magazine articles about cinematographers and other narrative and documentary filmmakers. He is one of seven living honorary members of the American Society of Cinematographers. Four of the others are astronauts.

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