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John Ira Bailey (born August 10, 1942) is an American cinematographer and film director known for his collaborations with directors Paul Schrader, Lawrence Kasdan, Michael Apted, and Ken Kwapis. In August 2017, Bailey was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for a four-year term.[1]

John Bailey
John Ira Bailey

(1942-08-10) August 10, 1942 (age 76)
OccupationCinematographer, film director
Years active1971–present
TitlePresident of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Carol Littleton (m. 1972)
AwardsCannes Film Festival Award for Best Artistic Contribution
CableACE Award for Dramatic or Theatrical Special
HonoursASC Lifetime Achievement Award


Life and careerEdit

He earned a graduate degree from the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts in 1968.[2] He spent 11 years apprenticing as a crew member with fil-makers such as Vilmos Zsigmond and Néstor Almendros, working on Two-Lane Blacktop, The Late Show, 3 Women, Winter Kills, and Days of Heaven. He earned his first credit as director of photography for Boulevard Nights, followed by Ordinary People and American Gigolo.[citation needed]

In 1985, Bailey shared the Cannes Film Festival Best Artistic Contribution Award with Eiko Ishioka and Philip Glass for Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters. He was nominated for the Independent Spirit Award for Best Cinematography for Tough Guys Don't Dance and the Camerimage Golden Frog Award for Best Cinematography for Forever Mine. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers and member of the jury at the Venice Film Festival in 1987.[3] He worked on numerous comedy films such as Groundhog Day, As Good as It Gets, and The Producers. He is a veteran documentary cameraman.

Bailey's credits as a director include The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe, China Moon, Mariette in Ecstasy, and Via Dolorosa. Bailey has been married to film editor Carol Littleton since March 1972.


As cinematographerEdit

Year Title Dir. Notes
1971 Mad Dogs & Englishmen Pierre Aidige Documentary film

Additional photography

with David Myers

1972 Premonition Alan Rudolph
1979 Boulevard Nights Michael Pressman
Winter Kills William Richert Additional photography

with Vilmos Zsigmond

1980 American Gigolo Paul Schrader
Ordinary People Robert Redford
City in Fear Jud Taylor Television film
1981 Continental Divide Michael Apted
Honky Tonk Freeway John Schlesinger
1982 Cat People Paul Schrader
That Championship Season Jason Miller
1983 Without a Trace Stanley R. Jaffe
The Big Chill Lawrence Kasdan
1984 Racing with the Moon Richard Benjamin
The Pope of Greenwich Village Stuart Rosenberg
1985 Mishima: A Life in Four Chapters Paul Schrader
Silverado Lawrence Kasdan
1986 Brighton Beach Memoirs Gene Saks
Crossroads Walter Hill
1987 Swimming to Cambodia Jonathan Demme
Light of Day Paul Schrader
Tough Guys Don't Dance Norman Mailer
1988 Vibes Ken Kwapis
The Accidental Tourist Lawrence Kasdan
1990 My Blue Heaven Herbert Ross
1991 A Brief History of Time Errol Morris Documentary film
1993 Groundhog Day Harold Ramis
In the Line of Fire Wolfgang Petersen
1994 Nobody's Fool Robert Benton
1996 Passion James Lapine Stage musical
Extreme Measures Michael Apted
1997 As Good as It Gets James L. Brooks
1998 Always Outnumbered Michael Apted Television film
Living Out Loud Richard LaGravenese
1999 The Out-of-Towners Sam Weisman
Forever Mine Paul Schrader
For Love of the Game Sam Raimi
2000 Michael Jordan to the Max Don Kempf

James D. Stern

Documentary film
2001 Antitrust Peter Howitt
The Anniversary Party Jennifer Jason Leigh

Alan Cumming

2002 The Kid Stays in the Picture Nanette Burstein

Brett Morgen

Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood Callie Khouri
2003 How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days Donald Petrie
2004 Incident at Loch Ness Zak Penn Mockumentary film
2005 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants Ken Kwapis
Must Love Dogs Gary David Goldberg
The Producers Susan Stroman
2006 The Architect Matthew Tauber
2007 The Death and Life of Bobby Z John Herzfeld
License to Wed Ken Kwapis
2008 Mad Money Callie Khouri
Over Her Dead Body Jeff Lowell
2009 The Greatest Shana Feste
Brief Interviews with Hideous Men John Krasinski
He's Just Not That into You Ken Kwapis
2010 When in Rome Mark Steven Johnson
Ramona and Beezus Elizabeth Allen Rosenbaum
Country Strong Shana Feste
2012 Big Miracle Ken Kwapis
2013 The Way, Way Back Nat Faxon

Jim Rash

A.C.O.D. Stu Zicherman
Snake and Mongoose Wayne Holloway Documentary film
2014 The Angriest Man in Brooklyn Phil Alden Robinson
The Forger Philip Martin
2015 A Walk in the Woods Ken Kwapis
2016 Burn Your Maps Jordan Roberts
2017 How to Be a Latin Lover Ken Marino

As directorEdit

Year Title Notes
1991 The Search for Signs of Intelligent Life in the Universe Televised stage show
1994 China Moon
1996 Mariette in Ecstasy
2000 Via Dolorosa Stage adaptation

Awards and nominationsEdit


  1. ^ Tapley, Kristopher (2017-08-08). "John Bailey Elected President of the Motion Picture Academy". Variety. Retrieved 2017-08-09.
  2. ^ Notable Alumni, USC School of Cinematic Arts Archived 2009-08-26 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ "John Bailey". IMDb.

External linksEdit

Non-profit organization positions
Preceded by
Cheryl Boone Isaacs
President of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Succeeded by