Lucien Ballard

Lucien Ballard, A.S.C. (May 6, 1908 – October 1, 1988) was an American cinematographer and director of photography. Ballard began working on films at Paramount Studios in 1929. He later joked in an interview that it was a three day party at the home of actress Clara Bow that convinced him "this is the business for me". He began his career loading trucks at Paramount, and became a camera assistant, often working for director Josef von Sternberg. Von Sternberg allowed him credit for his work on The Devil is a Woman (1935), and the two shared a Venice Film Festival award for "Best Cinematography" in 1935. On the set of The Lodger (1944), Ballard met, and then married actress Merle Oberon (from 1945 until 1949). After she was involved in a near fatal car crash in London, he invented a light which was mounted by the side of the camera, to provide direct light onto a subject's face, with the aim of reducing blemishes and wrinkles. Named the "Obie", the device benefited Oberon who had sustained facial scarring in the car accident. The Obie would become widely used in the film industry. One film of note is 1941's controversial Howard Hughes film The Outlaw.


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