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Industry mourns passing of Colin Corby BSC

Jun 22, 2023

We were very sad to hear that Colin Corby, Honorary Associate BSC, recently passed away. Our heartfelt thoughts are with his family during this sad time.

Born in 1935 in Hendon Middlesex, Colin (aka The Silver Fox) like most children of his generation spent a lot of time in the cinema growing up. He joined Kodak in 1958 in their production laboratories where he learned all about the mechanics of emulsions.

Before long he also learned about the product they were making and what magic the cinematographers were conjuring with it. In 1960, he met Wally Fairweather, who was then working as a freelance focus puller and ‘cheekily’ asked him if he could get into the film business? The bold question paid off and two days later he walked into a job as a 2nd Assistant on a TV series The Cheaters at the Danziger Studios in Stanmore. Alex Thomson BSC was the operator for DP Walter J. Harvey BSC and after that, thanks to Alex, he went on to do more sophisticated productions.

The first major production he worked on as a clapper-loader was Those Magnificent Men In Their Flying Machines Or How I Flew from London To Paris In 25 hours 11 minutes in 1964 (d. Ken Annakin) with a ‘hugely talented’ crew of Johnny Jordan as focus puller, Dudley Lovell Associate BSC operator and cinematographer Christopher Challis BSC – Challis was nominated for a BAFTA award for his photography. Later, Christopher was directly responsible for upgrading him on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang (1967 d. Ken Hughes), which was his first film as a focus puller. Eventually he upgraded to camera operator once more with Alex Thomson, on Death Line (1972 d. Gary Sherman). He continued his work on such classics as the Steven Spielberg production of Young Sherlock Holmes (1985 d. Barry Levinson, ph. Stephen Goldblatt ASC BSC), Labyrinth (1986 d. Jim Henson, ph. Alex Thomson) and Good Morning, Vietnam (1987 d. Barry Levinson, ph. Peter Sova ASC).

Working at MGM, Pinewood, Shepperton and Elstree studios for most of his career, he stayed in the business till the early 2000s and along the way also became rather heavily involved with television commercials, where he became ‘first call’ with several major production companies and their directors and producers such as Peter Webb and Hugh Hudson. But feature films were always his first love.

He was invited to become an Associate member of the BSC in 1985.

Other credits: Event Horizon, Give My Regards To Broad Street, Buddy’s Song, The Saint, Raw Deal, Heart Of Darkness, The Golden Bowl, Surviving Picasso, Muppet Treasure Island

Header image: Sir Paul McCartney with Colin Corby operating on Give My Regards To Broad Street (1984 Dir: Peter Webb)

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