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American Cinematographer (1984) - In Memoriam: Glen MacWilliams




Glen MacWilliams, ASC, summed up his early days in the film business as follows:

"Started in the industry in 1913 as an actor, playing office boy parts, or what had you, with the Reliance‑Majestic Company. Was climbing the ladder of fame when suddenly I discovered I had outgrown short pants and as a juvenile actor I was a great mistake. Having failed to convince Mr. D.W. Griffith that I was a coming WaIthall, I was on my way back to that grocery boy job when a young chap, Oliver Marsh, who had just become a cameraman, suggested that I work with him as his assistant‑and thus it began."

These words were written in 1926 on the occasion of his becoming a member of the ASC. MacWilliams died April 15, of cancer, at Seal Beach.

He was born in 1898 at Saratoga, California, and first gained attention as a director of photography with The Lamplighter (1921) at Fox, starring Shirley Mason and Raymond McKee. After a number of pictures for Fox, he photographed three Sol Lesser productions starring Jackie Coogan, the leading child star of the silent era: My Boy (1921), Trouble (1922) and the celebrated Oliver Twist (1922). Among his other silent films were Rupert of Hentzau (1923), The Recreation of Brian Kent (1925), The Mine With the Iron Door (1924), The Wheel (1925), The Golden Strain (1925), Thunder Mountain (1925), The Return of Peter Grimm (1926) and The. Heart of Salome (1927).

MacWilliams had returned to Fox Film before the Movietone era (Fox's sound on film system) began. By 1928 he was working in an "icebox" (a stifling, soundproof booth) photographin...

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