The Roizmans


Owen Roizman, ASC and Eric Roizman

Owen and Eric Roizman - Two Biographies

Owen Roizman, ASC, was born and raised in New York City. His father was a newsreel cameraman, but the son followed a different drummer. He wanted to become a major league baseball player. That dream was shattered when he injured his arm pitching in his last high school game. Roizman majored in math and physics at Gettysburg College, in Pennsylvania. He planned to pursue a career in one of those fields. After graduation, Roizman decided that he had a more promising future as an assistant cameraman. It paid better.

He worked for a leading edge TV commercial production house in New York, starting as an assistant cameraman, and working his way up through the ranks to operator and cinematographer. Roizman shot his first narrative film in 1970. It was a low budget film, which was never released. The following year, he earned the first of five Oscar nominations for his work on The French Connection. During the subsequent 11 years, Roizman compiled a total of 18 narrative film credits, including Oscar nominations for The Exorcist, Network and Tootsie.

Roizman opened a TV commercial production company in Los Angeles in 1982, mainly because his son Eric was just entering his teens, and he felt it was important to work closer to home. During the next five years, Roizman produced, directed and shot hundreds of commercials. He returned to narrative filmmaking in 1988, and subsequently earned his fifth Oscar nomination for Wyatt Earp. Just to put that into perspective, Roizman is one of only five contemporary cinematographers with five Oscar nominations. He earned the coveted American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement award in 1977, and the CamerImage Lifetime Achievement Award in 2001.

Eric Roizman is in the dawn of his career. Early in his teens, he considered a career in music, and began playing the guitar at the age of 13. He studied filmmaking at UCLA, but never lost his passion for music, and has occasionally played in bands. Roizman has worked as a second and first assistant cameraman and he stepped up to operator last summer (2002) with Richard Crudo, ASC on Bring it On Again. He worked with Crudo again more recently on Grind, and is currently a camera operator working with Francis Kenny, ASC on From Justin to Kelly.

(Published February 8, 2003)

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