Motion Pictures Cinematographer. For over 50 years he was one of Hollywood's most accomplished cameramen. As MGM's leading director of photography from 1930 to 1953, Rosson helped define the glossy, glamorous look of that studio's films. His style was noted for its subtle contrasts, imaginative lighting, and rich textures, and was equally brilliant in black and white and color. He shared a special Academy Award for his pioneering Technicolor work in "The Garden of Allah" (1936), and received Oscar nominations for "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), "Boom Town" (1940), "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo" (1944), "The Asphalt Jungle" (1950), and "The Bad Seed" (1956). Rosson was born in Genaseo, New York, the younger brother of director Arthur Rosson and actor-director Richard Rosson, and the older brother of actress Helene Rosson. Around 1909 his siblings brought him to the Vitagraph studio as an extra and he held various minor positions before becoming a cinematographer at Metro in 1916. In the 1920s he perfected his craft at Paramount, where he collaborated with such directors as Allan Dwan, Victor Fleming, and Josef von Sternberg. During his long tenure at MGM Rosson was frequently loaned out to other companies and he spent a year in England working for producer Alexander Korda. His classic credits include "The Docks of New York" (1928), "Tarzan the Ape Man" (1932), "Red Dust" (1932), "Treasure Island" (1934), "The Scarlet Pimpernel" (1935), "Captains Courageous" (1937), "Duel in the Sun" (co-photography, 1947), "On the Town" (1949), "Singin' in the Rain" (1952), and "The Enemy Below" (1957). Rosson was married three times. His second wife (from 1933 to 1935) was MGM star Jean Harlow, who later accused him of "mental cruelty" for reading in bed. He retired in 1958 but came back at the request of director Howard Hawks to shoot "El Dorado" (1967). Rosson lived out his remaining years at his home in Palm Beach, Florida, where he died at 93.
Bio by: Bobb Edwards