American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 115

In Memoriam

Photo by Owen Roizman, ASC.

Charles Rosher Jr., ASC, 1935-2015

Society member Charles Rosher Jr.
died of lung cancer on Oct. 14 at his home
in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 80.
Known to all as "Chuck," Rosher
was born on July 2, 1935, to Charles Rosher
Sr. and Odette Guazone. The senior Rosher
joined the Static Club of America in 1915
and, four years later, helped reorganize the
group as the American Society of Cinematographers. He was also a founder of
Local 659, and he shared the first Academy
Award for cinematography with Karl Struss,
ASC, for their work on F.W. Murnau's
Sunrise.
Rosher Jr. graduated from Beverly
Hills High School and then began climbing
the ranks of the camera department. As a
film loader, his credits included Raintree
County, directed by Edward Dmytryk and
shot by Robert Surtees, ASC; as an assistant,
he worked on such features as The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn (1960), shot by
Ted McCord, ASC. Future ASC member
Conrad Hall served as camera operator on
that production, and Rosher would go on to
operate for Hall on the features Incubus and
The Professionals (both 1966).
Appearing in Visions of Light, the
acclaimed documentary about cinematography, Rosher recalled his experiences shooting for Hall. "I've shot with Conrad where
[he] would use so little light that you'd barely
see anything in a room," he offered. "There
was nothing safe - 'safe' was never the
word with him."
Rosher's credits as an operator also
included episodes of the popular television
series The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet,
Mission: Impossible and Mannix. Additionally, he worked as an operator for future
ASC member William A. Fraker at commercial company VPI Productions; when Fraker
left VPI to shoot a feature for Universal,
Rosher was promoted to cinematographer.
He shot numerous commercials for production companies based out of Los Angeles,
New York and Chicago.
His first feature credit as director of
photography came with Adam at 6:00 a.m.,

directed by Robert Scheerer. More features
quickly followed, including The Baby
Maker, directed by James Bridges; Pretty
Maids All in a Row, directed by Roger
Vadim; Time to Run, directed by James F.
Collier; and Together Brothers, directed by
William A. Graham.
In 1977, Rosher was welcomed into
ASC membership after having been
proposed by Fraker and George J. Folsey,
ASC. That same year saw the release of The
Late Show, which Rosher photographed for
director Robert Benton and producer
Robert Altman. Rosher and Altman then
reteamed for the features 3 Women and A
Wedding, both of which Altman directed.
On the latter, Rosher hired future ASC
member - and current president of the
International Cinematographers Guild -
Steven Poster as his camera operator. "He
was a wonderful, sweet man," Poster said
in a statement from ICG. "It was a great
honor to work with him."
Rounding out the '70s, Rosher shot
such projects as the true-crime drama The
Onion Field, for director Harold Becker; the
horror film Nightwing, for director Arthur
www.theasc.com

Hiller; and the classic football comedy SemiTough, for director Michael Ritchie. The
latter starred Burt Reynolds and Kris Kristofferson, both of whom had played football in
college, and Rosher's cinematography
further helped lend the game scenes a high
level of credibility on the screen.
The February 1981 issue of American
Cinematographer featured Rosher's work
on the comedy Heartbeeps, which starred
Andy Kaufman and Bernadette Peters as
"companion-series" robots who run away
from a factory and fall in love. Directed by
Allan Arkush, the production presented
more than its fair share of challenges both
on and off screen, including significant dusk
shooting, complicated makeup, an ill-timed
actors' strike, and Kaufman's contractual 75
minutes of daily meditation. At one point,
Arkush reportedly fired a shotgun in order
to get Kaufman back to the set. Despite the
chaos, when AC asked Rosher about the
most challenging aspect of the shoot, he
focused on the photography. "Fighting the
sun constantly, and matching sunset lighting, and getting an enormous sequence
shot in a very short time ... is definitely a
challenge," he offered. "But it's also very
fulfilling."
Rosher's credits through the '80s and
'90s include the drama Independence Day
(1983), for director Robert Mandel; the
comedies Young Lust, directed by Gary
Weis, and Police Academy 6: City Under
Siege, directed by Peter Bonerz; and the
telefilm Runaway Father, directed by John
Nicolella. Rosher changed his membership
status with the ASC to "retired" in 2002.
Some of his last credits before doing so
include the feature Sunset Heat, which
reteamed him with Nicolella, and the telefilm Jake Lassiter: Justice on the Bayou, for
director Peter Markle.
Rosher is survived by his wife,
Sharlyn; daughter, Jenna; and grandchildren
Olivia and Juliette.
- Jon D. Witmer
‚óŹ

January 2016

115


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Contents
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover1
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Cover2
American Cinematographer - January 2016 - 1
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American Cinematographer - January 2016 - Contents
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