Ray Rennahan's film career spanned the eras of silent and sound, black-and-white and color, and brought him two Oscars and 12 Academy Award nominations.
While millions marveled at the burning of Atlanta in "Gone With the Wind" or the bullfight sequences in "Blood and Sand," which won Rennahan his Oscars, few knew that the cameraman on these films (and 120 other movies and 500 TV shows) had provided the experience that helped bring color to the industry.
Rennahan helped film, develop and edit the one of the first two-color Technicolor feature films, "The Toll of the Sea," with Anna May Wong in 1922.
Then followed "Wanderer of the Wastelands" for Famous Players-Lasky Corp. in 1924, and color sequences for "Ben Hur" with Ramon Novarro and Francis X. Bushman in 1924-1925.
Then there were westerns with Richard Dix, musicals with Jeanette McDonald and Nelson Eddy, adaptations of such Ziegfeld musical triumphs as "Whoopee!" with Eddie Cantor and the first three-color feature, "Becky Sharp" (1935 with Miriam Hopkins).
When Rennahan left Technicolor in 1961 to film TV features for Universal, he had photographed almost every major motion picture actor in the industry.
When Rennahan's star was placed on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame, astronaut Edwin E. "Buzz" Aldrin was on hand for the festivities and converted the veteran cinematographer's career to numbers:
"If all the 35-millimeter film Ray Rennahan ever exposed were laid end to end it would stretch to within walking distance of the moon."
|1939||Best Cinematography - Color||Gone With the Wind||Win*|
|1939||Best Cinematography - Color||Drums Along the Mohawk||Nomination*|
|1940||Best Cinematography - Color||The Blue Bird||Nomination*|
|1940||Best Cinematography - Color||Down Argentine Way||Nomination*|
|1941||Best Cinematography - Color||Blood and Sand||Win*|
|1941||Best Cinematography - Color||Louisiana Purchase||Nomination*|
|1943||Best Cinematography - Color||For Whom the Bell Tolls||Nomination|
|1944||Best Cinematography - Color||Lady in the Dark||Nomination|