90th Emmy Award-winning Sitcom Cinematographer – The Hollywood Reporter
George Spiro Dibie, Jerusalem-born cinematographer who has earned five Emmys for filming sitcoms like Barney Miller, Night Court, Increasing pain and Sisters, has died. He was 90 years old.
Dibie died Tuesday at her home in Los Angeles, a spokesman for the International Association of Cinematographers said. From 1984-2004, he served as president of Local 659 and later as national president of Local 600 after incorporation.
ICG President John Lindley said in a statement: “The numbers do not accurately count the thousands of lives he has touched both while working on the set and through his leadership at Local. 600.
Dibie, who has a background in lighting, has worked on 1,500 to 2,000 hours of sitcoms and over 60 feature films during her long career. He also shot every pilot of Warner Bros. for the multi-game series over the course of 10 years, on shows including My sister Sam, The top of the class, Murphy Brown, Driving for Miss Daisy and Trouble with Larry.
A 12-time Emmy Award-nominated, Dibie has earned her accolades for Mr. Belvedere in 1985, Increasing pain in 1987 and 1991, Just Ten of Us in 1990 and Sisters in 1995.
Dibie was also the director of photography on Barney Miller spinoff Fish 1977-78; above Barney Miller from 1978-82; above buffalo bill 1983-84; above Night Court from 1985-88; above Increasing pain from 1985-92; above My sister Sam from 1986-88; above Just Ten of Us from 1988-90; and more Sisters from 1994-99.
In 2008, he received the Television Career Achievement Award from the Cinematographers Association of America and the Camera Operators Association Distinguished Service Award.
“Dibie broke all the rules because he understood that there can be drama in comedy and comedy in TV series,” said then-ASC Awards Committee Chairman Russ alsobrook. “He ignored the broadcast engineers’ duty to make all the multi-channel programming look bright. George knows how to photograph beautiful actresses, but he doesn’t hesitate to use shadows and create gritty images when it’s the right visual grammar. ”
The son of a Greek father, Spiro, and a Lebanese mother, Helena, Dibie was born in Jerusalem, before Israel was a nation.
After graduating from high school, he was hired as a translator for the United States Information Agency in Amman, Jordan. When he said he wanted to work in the film business in America, his boss arranged for him to get a scholarship, and he moved with his family to Los Angeles.
Dibie attended LA City College and then the Pasadena Playhouse – Dustin Hoffman and Gene Hackman were classmates – where he concentrated on lighting and directing before graduating in 1959.
While working as a supermarket cashier, he got a job as a day player on the electrical team for Fox’s. Cleopatra (1963), then moved up to best male student and gaffer on films including This property is sentenced (1966), On a clear day you can see forever (1970), Molly Maguires (1970) and Plaza Suite (In 1971).
He said he learned a lot about lighting from famous cinematographer James Wong Howe.
Dibie’s foray into television came in 1975, when executive producer Danny Arnold hired him as a lighting consultant on Barney Miller.
In a July 2010 chat for the Television Academy Foundation’s website The Interviews, Dibie described what a cinematographer does on a comedy.
“You are in charge of the viewing part. Especially the technical look more than anything,” he said. “I reported to the director. I’d like to add that it’s a collaboration – the director, the cinematographer, the production designer – these are the people responsible for the visuals… The director directs us, and I deliver his vision. on screen – what he has in his brain, how he wants it to look. I do it for him.”
Dibie is also a key player in ASC’s Education & Outreach program.