Wednesday, December 1, 2010

RIP Gene Polito

POLITO, Eugene "Gene" Emmanuel Cinematographer, devoted husband, loving father, grandfather, and great grandfather Eugene ("Gene") Emmanuel Polito passed away peacefully at his Irvine home on November 28, 2010, after a three-year battle with esophageal cancer. Born in Brooklyn, New York, on September 13, 1918 to Sol and Frances Polito, Gene was eight months old when his family moved to the west coast, where his father continued his career as a cinematographer for Warner Brothers Studios. Gene graduated from Loyola High School in Los Angeles, and went on to attend Loyola University and the University of Southern California, earning his Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. Throughout WWII he worked as an engineer for Douglas Aircraft where he designed an ingenious weight-saving heating and air conditioning system using the existing structural framework of transport planes. As the war drew to a close, Gene followed in his father's footsteps, becoming a director of photography. An active member of the American Society of Cinematographers and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, over the course of his 40-year career Gene worked on hundreds of productions with Hollywood's finest directors and actors. A perfectionist at his craft, he enjoyed challenging his camera crews--whether for television series or feature films--to produce the highest quality products within the limits of production budgets. He was a pioneer in the use of "available light" photography, working in close collaboration with his colleagues in film laboratories to "push" his films 1- to 2-stops to create the look he wanted. Among his many inventions is the "Polito Bracket." His numerous television and feature film credits ("Westworld," "That's Entertainment," "Eight is Enough," "Lost in Space," to name a few) are documented on the Internet Movie Database (IMDb). At age 62, Gene became a professor at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, a calling that gave him great pleasure. He pushed students toward a deeper understanding of such things as the mathematical derivation of optical formulas so they would understand the science undergirding the art of what they were doing. His dedication and enthusiasm made him a favorite among film students. He retired from teaching at age 70. An avid golfer, Gene launched the annual ASC Golf Classic, which is now in its 27th year. In addition to his very busy role as a grandfather and great grandfather, he enjoyed writing letters to the editor on political topics about which he felt passionate. Gene was unabashedly in love with his wife of 66 years, Lucy. The fruits of their love are nine children: Gregory Polito, M.D. (Pamela), Whittier; Stephen Polito (Barbara), San Juan Capistrano; Mary Aaselund (Steven), Redmond, WA; Christine Parsons (Donald), Danville CA, Richard Polito, DDS (Krista), San Diego; Michele Seboldt (Craig), Yorba Linda; Joan Accomazzo (David), Danville, CA; Douglas Polito (Colleen), Moorpark; and Lisa Minier (Mike), San Clemente; 24 grandchildren, and five great grandchildren. Gene is also survived by his loving brother, S. Robert Polito, M.D., and his wife, Rose of Valley Center, CA, and numerous nieces and nephews. The family would like to thank our parents' devoted caregiver, Theresa Dunn, for her compassionate and loving companionship for the past few years. Theresa, you are an angel! Gene Polito's funeral Mass will be celebrated on Saturday, December 4th, at 10 AM at St. Elizabeth Ann Seton Catholic Church, 9 Hillgate, Irvine, 92612. Please remember Gene in your loving prayers. In lieu of flowers, donations in Gene's honor may be made to: USC School of Cinematic Arts Office of Development & Alumni Relations 900 West 34th Street Los Angeles, CA 90089-2211

POLITO, Gene (Eugene Emmanuel Polito)
Born: 9/13/1918, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Died: 11/28/2010, Irvine, California, U.S.A.
Gene Polito's westerns - cinematographer:
Zane Grey Theater (TV) - 1960
The Plunderers - 1960
Ride to Hangman's Tree - 1967
Sam Hill: Who Killed Mr. Foster (TV) - 1971
Alias Smith and Jones (TV) - 1971-1973
Westworld - 1973

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