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This story first appeared in the Feb. 28 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.
Starting in 1937 with a camera borrowed from his brother, a well-known sports photographer, Nat Dallinger became the most important news photographer in Hollywood. His King Features syndicated photo column, Inside Hollywood, was a staple of papers nationwide for more than 25 years. A 1949 memo from MGM’s publicity department instructed studio employees that “the most important single outlet for pictorial material in Hollywood is Nat Dallinger. … Give him every possible service, even to the sacrifice of other things.”
Click the photo to see more exclusive Dallinger shots of Hollywood icons.
Close relationships with Hollywood’s elite gave him unprecedented access. Clark Gable invited Dallinger into his house and Jane Fonda into her dressing room. Nancy Reagan playfully called him “cuz” because they shared first and last initials (her “D” came from her maiden name, Davis). Henry Rogers and Warren Cowan, who in 1950 formed one of the first — and most powerful — PR firms, were good friends. As such, Dallinger was welcomed into places other photographers couldn’t dream of, and his camera captured an intimate view of Hollywood at play.
Click the photo to see more candid moments of Marilyn Monroe.
Only a sliver of Dallinger’s output — he shot more than 58,000 photos during a career that lasted until the early 1970s — made it to print, and a vast majority never has been seen. In 2012, though, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences acquired the collection from his widow, Harriet (Dallinger died at 94 in 2006), intending to make the works available to scholars and display them in its planned museum. The Academy granted THR an exclusive look at these forgotten photos of Hollywood’s Golden Age.
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