George Hurrell: The Man Who Invented Hollywood Glamour

One photographer defined for all time the public image of many of Hollywood's greatest legends

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Hollywood glamour. The very notion is so familiar, and the images that most perfectly illustrate the concept are so readily conjured, that most movie fans are unaware that one man — a single photographer — is largely responsible for the look and feel of the classic film-glamour ideal. That man, a native Kentuckian named George Hurrell (1904-1992), pretty much single-handedly invented the Hollywood glamour portrait, shaping for all time the public image of many of the movies’ greatest legends — while defining the visual vernacular of the Golden Age of Hollywood itself.

A new book by photographer and historian Mark Vieira, George Hurrell’s Hollywood (Running Press, 2013), tells the remarkable tale of Hurrell’s rise, fall, and eventual resurrection as a Hollywood player and celebrity in his own right, while featuring more than 400 of the man’s phenomenal portraits, from the Twenties into the Nineties. The pictures in this gallery, meanwhile, focus on Hurrell’s work with icons from the 1930s and ’40s, including Bogart, Dietrich, James Cagney, Anna May Wong, Carole Lombard, Dorothy Lamour, Joan Crawford (his longtime muse), and others.

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