Joseph Bailey Walker
August 22, 1892
Denver, Colorado, United States
|Died||August 1, 1985 (aged 92)|
Las Vegas, Nevada
|Years active||1919 to 1952|
|Marjorie Warfield 1923 to 1935 Juanita Walker ?-?|
Born Joseph Bailey Walker in Denver, Colorado, Walker worked as a wireless telephone engineer, inventor, and photographer of documentaries for the Red Cross during World War I before starting his feature film career in 1919 with the Canadian film Back to God's Country, which was filmed near the Arctic Circle. For the next seven years, he freelanced at various studios, working for noted directors W.S. Van Dyke, Francis Ford, George B. Seitz, and others. He joined Columbia Pictures in 1927 and worked almost exclusively at the studio until he retired in 1952.
Walker collaborated with director Frank Capra on 20 films, including Ladies of Leisure (1930), Lady for a Day (1933), The Bitter Tea of General Yen (1933), It Happened One Night (1934), Lost Horizon (1937), Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936), You Can't Take It with You (1938), Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939), and It's a Wonderful Life (1946).
In addition to his film work, Walker held 20 patents on various camera-related inventions he devised, including the Double Exposure System, several zoom lenses, the Duomar Lens for both motion picture and television cameras, the Variable Diffusion Device, the Facial Make-Up Meter, lightweight camera blimps, and optical diffusion techniques. In 1994 many of Walker's inventions, lenses, devices and patents were purchased by ASC Museum Curator Steve Gainer, ASC ASK and are on display at the ASC clubhouse in Hollywood.
Walker was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography four times. He was the first recipient of the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, presented to him in recognition of his technological contributions to the film industry by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1982.
Walker collaborated on his 1984 autobiography The Light on Her Face, with his second wife Juanita Walker. He died in Las Vegas, Nevada.