Charles Rosher Jr., Cinematographer on Robert Altman Films, Dies at 80

Courtesy of Rosher Family
Charles Rosher Jr.

The son of Mary Pickford's favorite director of photography also worked on 'The Baby Maker,' 'The Onion Field' and 'Semi-Tough.'

Charles Rosher Jr., who served as the cinematographer on the back-to-back Robert Altman films 3 Women and A Wedding, has died. He was 80.

Rosher, whose credits include the gritty The Onion Field (1979) and Michael Ritchie’s football movie Semi-Tough (1977), died on Oct. 14 of lung cancer at his home in Beverly Hills, his daughter, Jenna, told The Hollywood Reporter.
 
His father was Charles Rosher, one of the most influential cinematographers in film history. A favorite of actress Mary Pickford and a founding member of the American Society of Cinematographers, he received Oscars for Sunrise (1927) — at the very first Academy Awards ceremony — and for The Yearling (1946), and he worked on the classics Annie Get Your Gun (1950) and Show Boat (1951). 
 
 
 
A graduate of Beverly Hills High School, the younger Rosher was a film loader for director Edward Dmytryk on Raintree County (1957), starring Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor, and first assistant camera operator on a somewhat less prestigious project, Attack of the Giant Leeches (1959).
 
He served as a camera operator on the Richard Brooks action adventure The Professionals (1966) and on such TV shows as The Adventures of Ozzie & Harriet, Mission: Impossible and Mannix before scoring his first director of photography credit, on Adam at Six A.M. (1970), starring Michael Douglas in his second movie.
 
The great DP Conrad Hall (In Cold Blood, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid) recommended Rosher to Altman when he was producing Robert Benton’s The Late Show (1977) and looking for a cinematographer. (Hall and Rosher had collaborated on The Professionals.) When Altman took to the director's chair for 1977's 3 Women, he employed Rosher again. 
 
Rosher also worked on the dramatic Carol Burnett telefilm The Tenth Month (1979), which was directed by Joan Tewkesbury, Altman’s writer on Nashville (1975).
 
In addition to A Wedding (1978), Rosher did The Baby Maker (1970), directed by James Bridges; Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971), written by Gene Roddenberry; Arthur Hiller's Nightwing (1979); Independence Day (1983); and Police Academy 6: City Under Siege (1989).
 
Survivors also include his wife, Sharlyn, and grandchildren Olivia and Juliette.
 
Updated at 9:30 a.m. on Oct. 28 to reflect when Rosher and Altman first worked together.
 
Twitter: @mikebarnes4
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