Saturday, April 16, 2011

The Iconic Hollywood Photograher: Robert Coburn

Coburn was born June 23, 1900.  For three decades, he was one of the most important portrait photographers in Hollywood from the 1930s to 60s.  He was well known for photographing Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard, Hedy Lamarr, Henry Fonda, Joel McCrea, Lucille Ball, Marlon Brando, Montgomery Clift, Janet Leigh, Orson Welles, Ginger Rogers, Fred Astaire, Cary Grant, Katherine Hepburn, and Kim Novak.  Rita Hayworth said he was her own favorite photographer and he took some of her best known photos including those for her most remembered film, "Gilda." 

Beginning in 1940, he started working for Columbia for 20 years and is most associated with that studio for not only his portrait photography but also his set stills for many classic films.  Some of the films he worked on include: "Vertigo", "The Birds," "Our Town", "Algiers", and "Cover Girl."

He died on July 3, 1990 in Canoga Park, California.  He is burried in Los Angeles at the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery. 

Here are some examples of his work:

Tippi Hedren and Alfred Hitchcock share a laugh on the set of "The Birds."

The great Carole Lombard.
A unique Halloween one of Dusty Anderson and the back of the photo below:

Hedy Lamarr in one of her most famous settings.

Loretta Young showing off fine fashion.
Cary Grant, need we say more?

From "Cover Girl."

Rita Hayworth as the title character in "Gilda."

Orson Welles with Hayworth in "The Lady From Shanghai."

Photographer Coburn and subject Hayworth.

Coburn with Joan Crawford and her dog.
With Susan Peters.

Some of his later work in the late 50s of Kim Novak below:

From the film "Bell, Book and Candle."

"That Hamilton Woman" gave Coburn a chance to recreate a painting of the real Emma Hamilton by George Romney below:

Below are some examples of the front and back of photos that include various ink stamps used for Coburn:
Frances Farmer

Gia Scala
Starlet Jean Carmen.

And one more of Rita...


  1. Thanks for sharing these iconic photos with us. I've just finished a photography course and was looking for some of the photographers you have mentioned after watching a BBC programme where the British photographer 'Rankin' retook some photos from Hollywoods golden age.

  2. Thank you! I like it very much!

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