Richard H. Kline, ASC will receive the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) Lifetime Achievement Award, which
is presented annually to an individual who has made exceptional and enduring
contributions to advancing the art of filmmaking. Kline will be feted during
the 20th Annual ASC Outstanding Achievement Awards on February 26, 2006, at
the Century Plaza Hotel.
"Richard Kline has made an indelible impression on the art of
cinematography," says Russ Alsobrook, ASC who chairs the organization's awards
committee. "He is an innovative artist who had the courage to explore and open
new frontiers, and the talent to succeed in those endeavors. Richard has
created an extraordinarily diverse and impressive body of work. His films have
entertained millions of people. He has also inspired many cinematographers to
pursue their dreams."
Kline has compiled more than 50 narrative film credits beginning in 1964
with the television series MR. NOVAK. He earned Oscar nominations for CAMELOT
in 1968 and for KING KONG in 1977. His other memorable credits include THE
ANDROMEDA STRAIN, SOYLENT GREEN, BATTLE FOR THE PLANET OF THE APES, THE TERMINAL MAN, ALL OF ME, WHO'LL STOP THE RAIN, STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE, BREATHLESS, and BODY HEAT.
"Critics tend to praise cinematographers for beautiful pictures,
especially sunsets, but our real job is to visually enhance the story, create
moods, properly capture the actors' performances, and especially protect their
image," says Kline. "This has to be done seamlessly without stealing the
audiences' attention from the drama or action."
He joins a distinguished list of previous recipients, including George
Folsey, ASC, Joe Biroc, ASC, Stanley Cortez, ASC, Charles B. Lang, Jr., ASC,
Phil Lathrop, ASC, Haskell Wexler, ASC, Conrad Hall, ASC, Gordon Willis, ASC,
Sven Nykvist, ASC, Owen Roizman, ASC, Victor J. Kemper, ASC, Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC, William Fraker, ASC, Vittorio Storaro, ASC, AIC, Laszlo Kovacs, ASC, Bill
Butler, ASC, Michael Chapman, ASC and Fred Koenekamp, ASC.
Kline is a second-generation filmmaker. His parents met at Universal
Studios where his mother was the paymaster during the Carl Lemley era. His
father, Benjamin Kline, ASC, was a cinematographer and is credited with more
than 350 films. His uncles were Phil Rosen, ASC, a charter member and first
president of ASC in 1919, and Sol Halprin, ASC, who also served as ASC
"I think a penchant for cinematography must be in my genes," Kline says,
"I was destined to be the fourth in my family to become an ASC member."
World War II was still on when Kline finished high school at age 16. Many
of the industry's personnel were away, and his father urged him to fill an
available opening as an assistant cameraman at Columbia Pictures so that he
could qualify for a camera unit when he entered the service.
He started as a slate boy on Rudolph Maté's camera crew for COVER GIRL,
which showcased Rita Hayworth and Gene Kelly in elaborate dance routines.
With on-the-job training, Kline quickly advanced to assistant cameraman and
worked on other films until entering the U.S. Navy in 1944. He served in the
Asian Pacific until mid-1946. After completing his military obligation, Kline
planned to attend UCLA and eventually pursue law, but he heeded a call from
Columbia Pictures to return as an assistant cameraman on THE LADY FROM
SHANGHAI, which was directed by Orson Welles. He never thought of a career in
law again. In 1948, Kline took advantage of the G.I. Bill of Rights to study
fine arts at the Sorbonne in France.
He returned to Columbia Pictures in 1951 and spent the next dozen years
working with his mentors, including such legendary cinematographers as Harry
Stradling, Sr., ASC, Charlie Lang, ASC, Phil Lathrop, ASC, James Wong Howe,
ASC, Burnett Guffey, ASC and Joseph Walker, ASC, whom he describes as, "the
master of making women look beautiful on film."
Kline earned his first motion picture credit in 1966 for CHAMBER OF
HORRORS. Josh Logan happened to accidentally see footage from that film in a
projection room at the studio. The director contacted Kline and asked him to
shoot CAMELOT. The film was based on Alan Lerner's Broadway musical.
ASC President Richard Crudo notes that there are many examples of how the
combination of Kline's imagination, mastery of his craft, and ability to work
with others in a collaborative environment resulted in innovative filmmaking.
He cites his artful use of monotone images with selective colors in THE
TERMINAL MAN and his ability to help make a human being outfitted in a
prosthetic costume look 60 feet tall in KING KONG.
"All too often, the best efforts of our cinematographers aren't recognized
because they're designed to be transparent to an audience," Crudo says. "In
order to rectify this, the ASC created a Lifetime Achievement Award. Everyone
singled out in this fashion is truly a unique talent and the whole world
should know about them."
"I truly love being a cinematographer," Kline says. "I like dealing with
everyone involved in the filmmaking process. We are actually family, like
kindred spirits. And I welcome the ever-present urgency in maintaining the
schedule and have a special respect for films' economics. This pressure is
inherent in everyday filmmaking and, oddly, breeds ingenuity and spontaneity
that surprisingly leads to visual fulfillment. I have never regretted a day of
my career, and look forward to what tomorrow may bring."
Kline Will Receive ASC Lifetime Achievement Award
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