The Hollywood Portrait Photographers

Robert Montgomery & George Hurrell
by George Hurrell, MGM 1937

John Kobal and Hollywood Photography

From an essay by Robert Dance from Glamour of the Gods (Steidl 2008) ©Robert Dance. Text is for reference only and may not be reproduced without express written permission from the author.

" one, including the men, ever said, "This isn't me."" - Laszlo Willinger

Like so many stories about John Kobal, the one about his notable role as a connoisseur, collector and chronicler of Hollywood photography begins with a movie star. Working as a journalist in 1969, Kobal visited the set of Myra Breckenridge with the goal of interviewing screen legend Mae West. His reporter's credentials granted him access to the set and while awaiting summons from Miss West, Kobal had the opportunity to meet members of the film's crew. Making small talk with an on-set photographer, he learned the man's name was George Hurrell. This surprised Kobal, for he recognized the name from the credit marks embossed or stamped on many of the Hollywood photographs he had collected since childhood. But those photographs were from the 1920s and 1930s, and were images of the greatest of Hollywood's stars, Davis, Garbo, Gable, Harlow. Could it be the same man almost four decades later, still practicing his craft on a movie set?


* Click a photo to open gallery.