John Bailey, a seasoned Hollywood cinematographer who served as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences from 2017 to 2019, died Friday in Los Angeles. He was 81.
Bailey’s death was announced by his wife, Carol Littleton, in a statement released by the Academy on Friday evening.
”It is with deep sadness I share with you that my best friend and husband, John Bailey, passed away peacefully in his sleep early this morning,” Littleton wrote. “During John’s illness, we reminisced how we met 60 years ago and were married for 51 of those years. We shared a wonderful life of adventure in film and made many long-lasting friendships along the way. John will forever live in my heart.”
“All of us at the Academy are deeply saddened to learn of John’s passing,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang in a joint statement. “John was a passionately engaged member of the Academy and the film community. He served as our president and as an Academy governor for many years and played a leadership role on the cinematographers branch. His impact and contributions to the film community will forever be remembered. Our thoughts and support are with Carol at this time.”
Bailey’s credits as a cinematographer led him to collaborating with notable directors like Robert Redford, James L. Brooks, Wolfgang Petersen and Harold Ramis. In 1985, he earned recognition for best artistic contribution at the Cannes Film Festival for his work lensing Paul Schrader’s “Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters.” In 2015, he was honored with a lifetime achievement award by the American Society of Cinematographers. Other notable credits include “The Big Chill,” “Silverado” and “The Accidental Tourist.”
Born Aug. 10, 1942, Bailey first began working in show business in 1971 as an assistant cameraman on Monte Hellman’s “Two Lane Blacktop.” His first credit as cinematographer came in 1972 on Alan Rudolph’s “Premonition.”
Bailey is survived by his wife, Oscar-nominated editor and former Academy governor Carol Littleton.
More to come…