Sunday, May 7, 2017

Edwards, Bobb. Biography of James Wong Howe. Tronchoni, José L. Bernabé. Biography of Sanora Babb. Retrieved from

  Birth: Aug. 28, 1899
  Guangdong, China
  Death: Jul. 12, 1976
  Los Angeles County
  California, USA

  Cinematographer. For over 50 years he was one of Hollywood’s top cameramen, and one of the few in his profession who was known by name to the general public. Howe won Academy Awards for “The Rose Tattoo” (1955) and “Hud” (1963), out of 10 nominations. His other films include “Peter Pan” (1925), “Mantrap” (1926), “Viva Villa!” (1934), “The Thin Man” (1934), “The Prisoner of Zenda” (1937), “Algiers” (1938), “The Adventures of Tom Sawyer” (1938), “Abe Lincoln in Illinois” (1940), “Kings Row” (1942), “Yankee Doodle Dandy” (1942), “Air Force” (1943), “Body and Soul” (1947), “The Brave Bulls” (1951), “Come Back Little Sheba” (1953), “Picnic” (1956), “The Sweet Smell of Success” (1957), “The Old Man and the Sea” (1958), “Seconds” (1966), “The Molly Maguires” (1970), and “Funny Lady” (1975). Howe was born Wong Tung Jim in Kwantung, China. In the United States from 1904, he was raised in the Northwest and for a time pursued a career as a professional boxer. He entered films in 1917 as a janitor, slate boy for Cecil B. DeMille, and assistant cameraman. His big break came in 1919 when he figured out a way to make star Mary Miles Minter’s pale blue eyes register properly on the insensitive film stock of the time, and he was promoted to director of photography in 1922. Nicknamed “Low Key Howe” for his penchant for low-contrast photography, he was an original and endlessly inventive artist. He used hand-held cameras and deep-focus lensing long before those techniques became fashionable. For the boxing drama “Body and Soul” he put on roller skates and climbed into the ring to shoot the fight scenes, and he strapped cameras to the actors’ waists for a different perspective in “The Brave Bulls”. His moody style also helped define the look of Warner Bros. pictures of the 1940s. After 1970 failing health forced Howe to turn down a number of plum offers, including an invitation from director Francis Ford Coppola to film “The Godfather”. For several years he had a relationship with novelist Sanora Babb, but they were not allowed to marry until California’s anti-miscegenation laws were repealed in 1949. They were together when Howe died of cancer at 76. (bio by: Bobb Edwards)

  Family links:
  Sanora Babb (1907 - 2005)*
  *Calculated relationship

  Westwood Memorial Park
  Los Angeles
  Los Angeles County
  California, USA
  Plot: Sanctuary Of Tranquility
  GPS (lat/lon): 34.05871, -118.44102

  Maintained by: Find A Grave
  Record added: May 16, 1999
  Find A Grave Memorial# 5428

  Birth: Apr. 21, 1907
  Death: Dec. 31, 2005

  Author. She was born in Otoe Indian Community in Oklahoma and died in her home in Hollywood Hills, California. She is best remembered for her book “Whose Names Are Unknown,” an acutely observed chronicle of one family’s flight from the drought and dust storms of the high plains to the migrant camps of California during the 1930s. She was the widow of Oscar-winning cinematographer James Wong Howe, whom she dated in the 1940s in defiance of California’s anti-miscegenation laws. Babb wrote five books, including a novelized memoir, a volume of poetry and a collection of short stories. Two of her stories were chosen for the 1950 and 1960 editions of the distinguished anthology series “Best American Short Stories,” edited by Martha Foley. At the beginning of her career, she eventually found a job as a radio scriptwriter and wrote stories and poems that appeared in literary magazines, including the Prairie Schooner, the Anvil and Southwest Review. Many of her friends were struggling writers, including William Saroyan, John Fante, Carlos Bulosan, John Sanford, Meridel Le Sueur and Ralph Ellison. Babb joined the Communist Party and, like many other left-leaning writers of her generation, sought foreign adventures, visiting the Soviet Union in 1936 and reporting on the Spanish Civil War for the British journal This Week. Over the next decade, Babb edited literary magazines that helped introduce the work of Bradbury and B. Traven, author of “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre,” among others. During the 1940s, Babb ran a Chinese restaurant that Howe owned in North Hollywood. In 1950, during the heat of the communist witch hunts, she spent more than a year in Mexico. During her self-imposed exile, she completed “The Lost Traveler,” inspired by her complex relationship with her father. Issued in 1958, it was her first published novel. Her other books include “An Owl on Every Post,” a 1970 memoir of her childhood in the Colorado wilderness that William Fadiman, writing in the Los Angeles Times, called “an evocative glimpse of a vanished era”; “Cry of the Tinamou,” a 1997 compilation of short stories; and “Told in the Seed,” a 1998 collection of poems. (bio by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni)

  Family links:
  James Wong Howe (1899 - 1976)


  Created by: José L Bernabé Tronchoni
  Record added: Jan 09, 2006
  Find A Grave Memorial# 12937809

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