RIP: Photographer Bob Willoughby, 1927-2009


Movie-set photographer Bob Willoughby died last week at the age of 82 from cancer. While he shot images of everyone from Billie Holiday to Mia Farrow for the pages of Life and Look magazines, he picked Audrey Hepburn as his muse claiming she had a “smile that God designed to melt mortal men’s hearts.” According to his obit in the LA Times, Willoughby was the go-to photographer for Rat Pack, and inspired this bit of praise from director Sydney Pollack: “Sometimes a filmmaker gets a look at a single photograph taken on his own set and sees the ‘soul’ of his film right there. It’s rare, but it happens, and did so to me in 1969, the first time I looked at work Bob had done during the filming of They Shoot Horses, Don’t They?

Back in 2003, Willoughby — who was also known as “a leprechaun with a Leica” — described his career to the Times of London as such: “I was there to make the women look as beautiful, the men as handsome and the movies as interesting as possible. Beyond that, I photographed what appealed and was exciting to me.”

Peep some of our favorite images after the jump.

Billie Holiday at the Tiffany Club, Los Angeles, 1951

Kim Novak on the set of The Man with the Golden Arm, 1955

Elizabeth Taylor in Raintree County, 1957

Elvis Presley and Sophia Loren at Paramount Studios, 1958.

Audrey Hepburn with director George Cukor, filming My Fair Lady.

Julie Christie on location for Petulia, 1967

Anne Bancroft and Dustin Hoffman in a portrait for The Graduate, 1967