Donald M. Morgan, ASC will receive the first
American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Career Achievement in Television
Award. He will be feted at the 21st Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards
celebration here on February 18, 2007, at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza
Morgan has earned five Emmy® Awards for his artful cinematography on the
television movies SOMETHING THE LORD MADE, OUT OF THE ASHES, MISS EVERS? BOYS,
GERONIMO and MURDER IN MISSISSIPPI, with four additional nominations for FOR
LOVE OR COUNTRY: THE ARTURO SANDOVAL STORY, THE SIEGE AT RUBY RIDGE,
DOUBLECROSSED and ELVIS. He has also claimed top honors in the television
movie/miniseries/pilot category in the ASC Awards competition for THE SIEGE AT
RUBY RIDGE, GERONIMO, DILLINGER, and MURDER IN MISSISSIPPI, along with two
nominations for OUT OF THE ASHES and FOR LOVE OR COUNTRY: THE ARTURO SANDOVAL
?Donald Morgan is an innovative and talented artist who has set the standard
for artful visual storytelling in the movies that television brings into
almost every home in the United States,? says Russ Alsobrook, ASC, who is
chairman of the organization?s Awards Committee. ?He has earned the admiration
of his peers who believe artistic television cinematography deserves the same
respect as films made for the cinema.?
The cinematographer has compiled some 70 narrative film credits, including
such memorable theatrical features as the romantic comedy SHEILA LEVINE IS
DEAD AND LIVING IN NEW YORK, the horror movie CHRISTINE, and the sci-fi
adventure film STARMAN.
?Don has literally become a legend in his own time,? ASC President Daryn
Okada observes. ?He has that rare combination of innate talent, mastery of a
complex and constantly changing craft, and the ability to collaborate. His
work speaks for itself.?
Morgan?s father was an animation cameraman, who worked on such classic films
as SNOW WHITE, FANTASIA, BAMBI and PINOCCHIO. During his teens, Morgan chose
to follow a different path than his father. He tested his mettle as a rodeo
cowboy. Next, he took a shot at driving racecars. During that period, Morgan
also worked at film labs and tried his hand at shooting animated commercials.
Morgan apprenticed with Nelson Tyler on aerial cinematography projects during
the early 1960s. He earned opportunities to work as an assistant cameraman for
Tyler, who did second unit aerial cinematography on CATCH-22, THE GRADUATE and
many other classic films. After a short apprenticeship, Morgan became an
?I bought an ARRIFLEX 2C camera and kept it next to me on the helicopter,?
Morgan recalls. ?When I saw something interesting happening on the ground, I
would ask the pilot to land, so I could grab some handheld shots.?
That was the beginning of a new chapter in his life. Morgan was one of about
100 filmmakers who invested $100 each in 1969 to produce WIN, PLACE OR STEAL.
He shot the film, which was released in 1975.
His next feature was SANTEE, a 1973 Western starring Glenn Ford. After Sid
Furie saw that film on an airplane, he checked the credits for the
cinematographer. It turned out Morgan had shot aerial footage for a commercial
with the director. Furie brought Morgan onboard to lens a mainstream Hollywood
feature, SHEILA LEVINE IS DEAD AND LIVING IN NEW YORK. The cinematographer?s
work on that film got Sidney Poitier?s attention. Morgan subsequently
collaborated with Poitier who directed LET?S DO IT AGAIN and A PIECE OF THE
In 1976, he shot SERPICO: THE DEADLY GAME, the pilot for the popular
episodic series about a New York City cop. The director wanted a ?dark, gutty
look? and Morgan accommodated him to the dismay of executives at the studio
who produced the pilot. They wanted Morgan to brighten the look, but he
remained faithful to the director?s vision. As a result, he was blacklisted
from projects produced by that studio for two decades, but Joseph Sargent was
so impressed with his work that the director hired him to shoot AMBER WAVES in
Morgan and Sargent recently collaborated on their 10th co-venture. SYBIL is
a remake of a classic 1976 television movie about a woman with a severe
multiple personality disorder. It will premiere on the CBS-TV network in the
Morgan has also shot 13 films with Roger Young at the helm, including the
critically acclaimed MURDER IN MISSISSIPPI and DOUBLECROSSED, THE SEIGE AT
RUBY RIDGE and GERONIMO. ?Roger Young has a way of challenging me to aim
higher,? Morgan says. ?I have been lucky to work on so many great stories with
artful and courageous directors.?
Donald M. Morgan to receive first ASC TV Career Award
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