'Godsend' to lenser community


Burton "Bud" Stone, the former president of Deluxe Laboratories who was known as a "godsend" to cinematographers, died April 18 of natural causes at his Los Angeles home. He was 80.

Stone was widely recognized in the motion picture industry for the leadership role that he played for more than two decades. In 1996, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences board of governors presented him with the John A. Bonner Medal of Commendation "in appreciation for outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy."

"Bud Stone was a warm, caring, generous man and a tireless contributor to our community," Deluxe president and CEO Cyril Drabinsky said Monday.

Stone had a special appreciation for the role that cinematographers play in the art and craft of filmmaking. He was a driving force of the annual American Society of Cinematographers Outstanding Achievement Awards since its inception in 1986, and he served for 17 years as co-chairman of the industrywide committee that drives that event.

He was named an honorary member of the ASC, one of only two dozen individuals to receive such an honor. Others include Thomas Edison, George Eastman and astronaut "Buzz" Aldrin.

"Bud Stone probably did more for cinematographers than anybody I've ever known," ASC past president Owen Roizman told The Hollywood Reporter. "He was so generous with his time and expertise, with new filmmakers and established filmmakers. For the ASC, he was a godsend. … He was very involved. He was a great friend and a great human being."

Stone was born in Englewood, N.J., in 1927. His father, James Stone, began working at a film lab in nearby Fort Lee during the waning days of the silent film era. Soon, the younger Stone worked part-time at the lab as a "can boy."

After a stint with the U.S. Navy, he became an assistant film editor before working his way up through the ranks of management at several film labs in the New York area. In 1976, Stone was named president of Deluxe Laboratories in Hollywood, staying atop the company until his retirement in 1994.

Stone also served as president of the technology council of the Motion Picture and Television Industry; was a member of AMPAS, the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineers and the Hollywood Television & Radio Society; and was on the board of directors of the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.

Stone received the Ken Mason Inter-Society Award at ShoWest in 2001, when he was also inducted into the ShowEast Hall of Fame. He was awarded fellowships in the British Kinematograph Sound and Television Society and SMPTE.

Stone received the Will Rogers Humanitarian Award in 1993, was honorary chairman and director of the Will Rogers Foundation and served on the board of directors of the Motion Picture Pioneers, Hollywood Heart Fund and Covenant House.

Stone is survived by his wife Judy; children Jeff, Ron and Barbara; six grandchildren; and his brother, Ed.

Donations may be made to the Bud Stone Memorial c/o of the Will Rogers Motion Picture Pioneers Foundation.