Bailey was known for his work in Groundhog Day, Ordinary People and As Good As It Gets.
There was an emotional start to the 31st EnergaCamerimage cinematography film festival as news spread that cinematographer John Bailey ASC, who served two terms as president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, had passed away at the age of 81.
Festival director Marek Żydowicz gave a heartfelt tribute to the DP as he opened Camerimage, in Toruń, Poland. “It is very difficult for me to talk about it,” he said, introducing a black-and-while clip featuring portions of Bailey’s 2019 speech when he accepted the Camerimage Lifetime Achievement Award. Bailey and his wife, Oscar-nominated editor Carol Littleton, had attended the festival on multiple occasions. Żydowicz also emphasised the bond between Camerimage and the Motion Picture Academy that Bailey helped to strengthen. He said, “John, you will forever be in our hearts.”
In a joint statement of their own, Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy president Janet Yang said they were “deeply saddened” by the news of Bailey’s death.
“John was a passionately engaged member of the Academy and the film community. He served as our president and as an Academy governor for many years and played a leadership role on the Cinematographers Branch,” they said. “His impact and contributions to the film community will forever be remembered. Our thoughts and support are with Carol at this time.”
Header Image: John Bailey ASC at Camerimage 2017, pictured with Elen Lotman ESC and baby Arthur, photo by Ron Prince