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Kenneth Peach Biography

  • Profession: Cinematographer
  • Born: Jan 1, 0001
  • Died: Jan 1, 0001

Kenneth Peach was a 60-year veteran of Hollywood, working in movies from 1923-1984, and a 50-year member of the American Society of Cinematographers, a longevity rivaled by few people in front of or behind the camera. Born in Oklahoma in 1903, he joined the movie industry when he was 20-years-old and, at 23, had moved up to director of photography. Peach's original expertise lay in the specialized field of special-effects work, including photo composite processes, miniatures, and matte shots. He then moved from Tiffany Pictures to Warner Bros., where he stayed in the technical effects department for three years. After two years of moving between various independent production companies, Peach joined Columbia Pictures during the transition from silents to sound. Finally, near the end of 1931, Peach joined the camera effects department at RKO, where he worked on such movies as [[Feature~V33395~The Most Dangerous Game~themostdangerousgame]] and [[Feature~V27391~King Kong~kingkong]], serving as second unit director on the latter movie and handling the miniature animation sequences as well as action material in tandem with [[Performer~P99796~Edward Linden~eddielinden]], [[Performer~P115813~Vernon L. Walker~vernonwalker]], and L.O. Taylor. He left RKO in 1933 and jumped to Hal Roach Studios, where he spent the next six years shooting the films of [[Performer~P98871~Laurel~stanlaurel]] and [[Performer~P30384~Hardy~oliverhardy]] (including what is perhaps their best movie, [[Feature~V45690~Sons of the Desert~sonsofthedesert]]), Charley Chase, and [[Performer~P37552~Patsy Kelly~patsykelly]]. Peach left the movie industry in 1939 and at joined the Navy the outbreak of the war. He returned to movies as a special effects photographer on several low-budget, independent films before he rejoined RKO in the summer of 1946. He remained there for the rest of the decade, working on the special effects and second unit sequences of movies such as [[Feature~V24128~I Remember Mama~iremembermama]] and the [[Performer~P95114~Howard Hughes~howardrhughes]] feature [[Feature~V26121~Jet Pilot~jetpilot]]. Beginning in 1950, Peach worked as a freelance cinematographer and became one of the first experienced film hands to make the jump to television, shooting episodes of [[Feature~V133003~The Cisco Kid~theciscokid[tvseries]]] series (among the earliest TV shows filmed in color), Bozo the Clown, and Greenwich Village. His 1950s credits included Boston Blackie, Western Marshal, Gangbusters, and Lassie. The rapid production schedules of many of the series on which he worked made it easier for Peach to keep his hand in the film industry, primarily at its lower-budgeted end, including the Western [[Feature~V97135~Jesse James' Women~jessejameswomen]] and the sci-fi classics [[Feature~V25528~It! The Terror From Beyond Space~ittheterrorfrombeyondspace]] and [[Feature~V88376~Curse of the Faceless Man~curseofthefacelessman]] (both directed by [[Performer~P83815~Edward L. Cahn~edwardlcahn]]). It was on those movies that he showed what he could do, capturing dark, ominous moods that played a key role in making those films work as chillers, despite their low budgets; he later put those skills to work with equal effectiveness on the TV series [[Feature~V175248~The Outer Limits~theouterlimits[tvseries]]] (1963-1965), where he shared director of photography duties with [[Performer~P93162~Conrad Hall~conradlhall]] and [[Performer~P104437~John Nickolaus~johnmnickolausjr]]. His longtime experience in special-effects photography made him a natural for the series, especially with episodes such as "Production and Decay of Strange Particles," in which many long sequences utilized special effects and process shots. He also shot Sea Hunt, among other adventure shows, and, in 1963, got the highest profile feature films credit of his career when he photographed the Walt Disney film [[Feature~V24712~The Incredible Journey~theincrediblejourney]]. He also served as the director of photography on [[Feature~V175306~Rhoda~rhoda[tvseries]]] and [[Feature~V282911~Angie~angie[tvseries]]] in the 1970s before retiring in 1984 at the age of 79. Married to former actress [[Performer~P86410~Pauline Curley~paulinecurley]] -- one of their children, Kenneth J. Peach, is also a cinematographer -- Peach died in 1988. ~ Bruce Eder, Rovi