George Folsey (cinematographer)

George Joseph Folsey, A.S.C. (July 2, 1898 – November 1, 1988) was an American cinematographer who worked on 162 films between 1919 and his retirement in 1976.

George J. Folsey
George Joseph Folsey

(1898-07-02)July 2, 1898
DiedNovember 1, 1988(1988-11-01) (aged 90)
Years active1919–1976
Board member ofA.S.C. President (1956–1957)
AwardsAmerican Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award 1988


Born in Brooklyn, Folsey was hired by Jesse Louis Lasky to work as an office boy in his newly formed Jesse L. Lasky Feature Play Company in New York City. He earned his first screen credit for His Bridal Night in 1919. Leading lady Alice Brady was so satisfied with the way he photographed her she offered him a contract to shoot all her films. He worked for both Associated First National and Paramount Astoria Studios before relocating to Hollywood and Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, where he spent the bulk of his career.[1]

Folsey's many credits include The Letter, The Cocoanuts, Animal Crackers, The Great Ziegfeld, A Guy Named Joe, The White Cliffs of Dover, Meet Me in St. Louis, The Clock, The Harvey Girls, Adam's Rib, A Life of Her Own, Million Dollar Mermaid, Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, The Cobweb, Cash McCall, and The Balcony. For television he served as director of photography for various episodes of the ABC series The Fugitive and an NBC special starring figure skater Peggy Fleming, for which he won an Emmy Award for Best Cinematography For Nonfiction Programming.

Folsey was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography thirteen times but never won. Eight months before his death he was honored with the first Lifetime Achievement Award presented by the American Society of Cinematographers, for which he served as President in 1956-57.

Folsey's son George Jr. is a director/producer/editor.

Folsey died in Santa Monica, California.

Partial filmography


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