Ernest Laszlo, the Academy Award-winning cinematographer best known for his creative collaborations with directors Robert Aldrich and Stanley Kramer, was born on April 23, 1898, in Budapest, Hungary, then part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire.
After emigrating to the US, he worked as a camera operator on Wings (1927). He made his debut as a director of photography on The Pace That Kills (1928). Before hooking up with Kramer, his most notable collaboration was with Aldrich, for whom he shot 11 films, including Vera Cruz (1954), the noir classic Kiss Me Deadly (1955) and The Big Knife (1955). Other memorable films he shot include Two Years Before the Mast (1946), Road to Rio (1947), Stalag 17 (1953) and Logan’s Run (1976). He also shot M (1951), Joseph Losey’s remake of M (1931), which was re-envisioned as an urban film noir set in Los Angeles.
After 30 years as a director of photography, Laszlo was honored with his first Oscar nomination in 1961 for shooting Inherit the Wind (1960) for Stanley Kramer. He was subsequently Oscar-nominated for the cinematography on Kramer’s Judgment at Nuremberg (1961), It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World (1963) and Ship of Fools (1965), for which he finally won his Oscar. His final film, The Domino Principle (1977), also was shot for Kramer.
From 1972 to ’74 Ernest Laszlo served as the president of the American Society of Cinematographers. He died on January 6, 1984.