After deciding to take on a father who worked as a cinematographer, Owen Roizman spent time in a camera rental company and later worked as an assistant to “Young Frankenstein” cinematographer Gerald Hirschfeld (via The American Society of Cinematographers). His first notable project was 1971’s The French Connection. The film would not only be Roizman’s first Oscar nomination, but also his first collaboration with director William Fredkin. Her next project, The Exorcist, became a box office success (per Box Office Mojo), earned another Oscar nomination, and changed horror forever. With that in mind, it’s almost shocking to think that a long time ago, Roizman almost became a mathematician instead of a cinematographer (via Variety). He definitely made the right career choice.
In 1982, Roizman’s lively yet grounded work in Tootsie helped the film to the second highest box office of the year and earned it another Oscar nomination. In the latter part of his career, Roizman collaborated with director Lawrence Kasdan on I Love You To Death and Wyatt Earp, the latter of which earned him his final Oscar nomination. Roizman’s last film was French Kiss in 1995.
In addition to his on-screen achievements, Roizman also served as President of the American Society of Cinematographers from 1997 to 1998 and received an honorary Academy Award for his contribution to the field. Overall, however, this list of achievements doesn’t even scratch the surface of Roizman’s contributions. From Stepford Wives to Network to 1991’s The Addams Family, it’s hard to find a film buff who hasn’t been touched by Roizman’s work.