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Cinematographer John Harris dies, aged 87

Career spanned 53 years, working on the likes of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Superman and The Running Man.

British cinematographer John Harris has died, aged 87, following a short battle with cancer.

Having served in the Navy during World War Two, where he became an Official Naval Photographer at the Japanese surrender in Hong Kong in 1945, Harris became a freelance cinematographer in 1949 when ‘The Bush’ (Gainsborough Pictures’ studio in Lime Green) - where he had worked from the age of 16 on six films as a clapper boy and focus puller - folded.

Early in his career, Harris met Bob Krasker - the first cinematographer to win an Oscar - and the duo went on to work on 20 films over a period of 16 years, including the likes of Another’s Man Poison (1951), Romeo And Juliet (1953) and El Cid (1961). During his career, Harris also worked with such Directors of Photography as Denys Coop, Chris Challis and Ted Scaife, as well as directors including Carol Reed (Trapeze and The Running Man), Ken Hughes (Chitty Chitty Bang Bang), Guy Hamilton (Live And Let Die and The Man With The Golden Gun) and Richard Donner (Superman).

Harris retired in 1996, aged 71, having worked on 107 films. In 1976 he was elected an Associate Member of the British Society of Cinematographers (BSC), becoming a full member in 1985. During his retirement, he lived with his wife Ursula - whom he married in 1954 - in West Wittering, West Sussex, where he regularly assisted the local Amateur Dramatics Society with their lighting and the construction of their sets.

He is survived by his wife Ursula and their three sons.

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