[JPL] Death of William Gottlieb, renowned jazz photographer

Jim Wilke jwilke123 at comcast.net
Mon Apr 24 12:29:36 EDT 2006

Thanks for forwarding that to the JPL list, Lee.  William Gottlieb's 
photos are iconic images of the world of jazz in the minds of most 
people.  A framed poster of his great photo "52nd Street, New York, 
1948" is prominently displayed in my studio.  It inspires me and 
accompanies our "virtual pub crawls" on Jazz After Hours as we sample 
the music being played in major jazz clubs each weekend.

I extend our most sincere condolences to the family and appreciation 
for the contribution William Gottlieb's photos have made to the world 
of jazz.

Jim Wilke
Jazz After Hours, PRI

On Monday, April 24, 2006, at 05:54  AM, Lee Mergner wrote:
>> From Ed Gottlieb, son of William Gottlieb:
> My father, William P. Gottlieb, died at home today. I am attaching a
> brief biography which is mostly copied from his website,
> www.jazzphotos.com. A more extensive bio with photographs can be found
> on the Library of Congress website:
> http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/wghtml/wgbio.html. Though he is best known
> as a world renowned photographer of jazz musicians he had many other
> notable achievements in his life. Please feel free to call us if you
> need additional information or a photo of Bill. We can be reached at:
> (516) 466-0495.
> Thank you. Ed Gottlieb for the Gottlieb family.
> Born: Feb. 28, 1917 Married Delia Potofsky in 1939 (married 66 years)
> Beloved by: wife Delia; children Barbara, Steven, Richard, Edward &
> spouses Teri & Jacki; sister-in-law Jacqueline; grandchildren Leah,
> Sara, Brian, Jason,Celia, & Noah; and great grandchildren Evan, Lily, &
> Enzo. Memorial Service will be held on Friday, April 28th at 11:00 at
> Riverside-Nassau North Chapels, 55 North Station Plaza, Great Neck, NY.
> In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to: Jazz Musician
> Emergency Fund c/o Jazz Foundation of America 3rd Floor 322 West 48th
> Street New York, NY 10036 Email: pledge at jazzfoundation.org Although he
> hasn't photographed jazz people in more than 50 years, Bill Gottlieb, 
> in
> a 1990 Issue of Modern Photography, was called "The Great Jazz
> Photographer." The New York Times credits Bill with "the flair of a 
> high
> artist." The New Yorker said, "Gottlieb stopped photographing jazz
> musicians in 1948. No one has surpassed him yet." Bill first used a
> camera in 1939 to illustrate his pioneering weekly jazz column, "Swing
> Sessions", in the Washington Post. He was paid for the writing, not the
> photography, and since the film, flash bulbs, and cameras (Speed
> Graphics and Rolleis) were bulky and expensive, he typically made only
> three or four exposures a session (all taken "on location"). So he
> learned to shoot very carefully. The photography paid off, it enhanced
> his column, later helped him become an Air Force photo officer in WWII,
> then clinched an editor's job on Down Beat Magazine (though he was 
> still
> not paid for his photos). Bill left the jazz scene in 1948 to produce
> educational filmstrips, eventually as president of University
> Films/McGraw-Hill. He also wrote and illustrated 16 books, mostly for
> children. One of his GOLDEN BOOKS, "Laddie the Superdog" sold more than
> one million copies. Upon retiring from McGraw-Hill in 1979, Bill
> published his old jazz photos as The Golden Age of Jazz. The New York
> Times predicted that Bill also "seems to be entering the golden age of
> William P. Gottlieb." How prescient! His jazz images have since 
> appeared
> on more than 350 record album and CD covers, on two dozen posters, and 
> a
> like number of postcards and T-shirts. They have been in hundreds of
> books, magazines, calendars, TV documentaries, and even in major motion
> pictures as background atmosphere or used to recreate a historic site.
> Meanwhile, exhibitions of the prints have appeared in more than 160
> venues,from the Museum of Modern Art in Stockholm,Sweden, to the Navio
> Museum in Osaka, Japan. The Golden Age of Jazz is now in it's 13th
> printing. Some of Bill's photos,starting with Duke Ellington, were
> acquired by the National Portrait Gallery: and his images are the basis
> of four US Postage Stamps. In 1997, the New Jersey Jazz Society honored
> him as the non-musician who did the most for jazz that year. In 1998,
> Down Beat presented Bill with their annual Lifetime achievement award.
> In a recent 12 month period, 21 different books were published that
> included some of Gottlieb's photos. The Library of Congress, using 
> funds
> from the Ira & Leonore S. Gershwin Fund,purchased all 1700 of 
> Gottlieb's
> jazz images "for posterity". Bill retains the copyright and commercial
> rights for many years to come. Bill was also a competitive tennis
> player. With son, Steven, he was frequently the Number One ranked
> father-son team in the Eastern United States, as well as being twice in
> the top eight teams in the United States.

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