American Cinematographer (2006) - In Memoriam: Leonard South, ASC
- article: In Memoriam: Leonard South, ASC
- author(s): Robert S. Birchard
- journal: American Cinematographer (01/Apr/2006)
- issue: volume 87, issue 4, page 142
- journal ISSN: 0002-7928
- publisher: ASC Holding Corporation
- keywords: Alfred Hitchcock, American Society of Cinematographers, Arts and Entertainment Industry, Cinematographers, Deaths, Executives, Family Plot (1976), Famous Players-Lasky, Leonard J. South, Leonard South, Motion picture directors & producers, New York City, New York, North by Northwest (1959), Paramount Pictures, Personal profiles, Presidents, Rear Window (1954), Robert Burks, Strangers on a Train (1951), Trade associations, Vertigo (1958)
Leonard South, ASC, a former Society president and longtime member of the ASC Board of Governors, died on January 6 in Northridge, California.
Although he was a well-respected director of photography, South was perhaps best known for his work as an assistant cameraman and camera operator on a long list of films for Alfred Hitchcock, beginning with Strangers on a Train (1951). South worked on 14 pictures with Hitchcock, including Rear Window (1954), Vertigo (1958) and North by Northwest (1959). "Hitch spoiled me for other directors," he once said. "I look for part of him in other people, and it's not there. Hitch was always trying to push the limits on techniques and to be different."
South was born on Long Island, New York, in 1913, and he became interested in movies and cinematography while watching film crews work around the Famous Players-Lasky/Paramount studio in Astoria, Queens. He came to Hollywood around 1933 with a goal of landing a job in the movies, and through a friend he managed to find work in the camera department at Warner Bros.
South served in the U.S. Navy during World War II, working at "Fort Roach," the Hal Roach Studio in Culver City that was given over to the military for the production of training films. After the war, he returned to Warner Bros, where he began working for Robert Burks, ASC as an assistant cameraman. Burks became Hitchcock's cinematographer of choice on most of his classic thrillers in the 1...