April 25, 1921 - February 13, 2017
Gerald Joseph Hirschfeld, 95, of Ashland, Oregon passed away February 13, 2017. He was born April 25, 1921 in New York City, New York to Katherine Zirker and Ralph Hirschfeld.
His earliest memory from his perch in Washington Heights was of watching the George Washington Bridge being built. Thus began his dreams of design and visual power.
Jerry enlisted in the U.S. Army five months after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. His going-away present from his sister was a still camera, which he used to document his army experience. He first served in a radar-surveillance unit but was later transferred to the Signal Corps Photographic Center in Long Island, N.Y. where he learned the art of cinematography, making training films and short entertainment films for the troops. As the ASC wrote in their biography, “He entered the service as a still photographer and came out a cinematographer."
Jerry went on to shoot and direct commercials (too many to count) and over 40 major motion pictures including Fail-Safe, his first feature assignment for director Sidney Lumet. Others include GoodBye Columbus, My Favorite Year, The World’s Greatest Lover, and the most well-known and popular, Young Frankenstein.
Jerry penned numerous stories for the American Cinematographer magazine detailing his work in various productions and later wrote Image Control - Motion Picture and Video Camera Filters and Lab Techniques for the ASC Press and The Hand Exposure Meter Book with co-author Bob Shell.
His awards include:
- "Billy Bitzer Award" by members of Local 644, New York
- Lifetime Achievement Award 2004 – Ashland Independent Film Festival recognizing his 60 years of filmmaking experience
- Merit of Excellence for Cinematography – Southern Oregon Film & Video Association
- The ASC President’s Award 2007 – The Honor reserved for individuals who have made exceptional contributions to advancing the art and craft of filmmaking.
Jerry is survived by his wife and partner, Julia Tucker; four sons, Alec Hirschfeld (Debra), Marc Hirschfeld (Jan), Eric Hirschfeld (Chompou), and Burt Hirschfeld (Kimi); and six grandchildren.