Joseph Ruttenberg

Joseph Ruttenberg, A.S.C. (July 4, 1889 – May 1, 1983) was a Ukrainian-born American photojournalist and cinematographer.[1]

Joseph Ruttenberg, A.S.C.
Promotional Photo
Born(1889-07-04)July 4, 1889
Berdychiv, Zhytomyr oblast, Russian Empire
DiedMay 1, 1983(1983-05-01) (aged 93)
SpouseRose Ruttenberg
ChildrenVirginia Ruttenberg

Ruttenberg was accomplished at winning accolades. At MGM, Ruttenberg was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Cinematography 10 times, winning four. In addition, he won the 1954 Golden Globe Award for his camera work on the film Brigadoon.


Born into a Jewish family in Berdychiv[2][3]Zhytomyr oblast, Ukraine, Joseph Ruttenberg emigrated to the United States, arriving in Boston, Massachusetts on 7 January 1895.[4] As a young man he went to work at the Boston Globe as a photojournalist but left in 1915 to accept a job with the Fox Film Corporation in New York City to train as a cinematographer. Two years later, he was behind the camera for The Painted Madonna (1917), which marked the start of a remarkably successful career.[5]

In the late 1920s, Ruttenberg went to work for Paramount Pictures in New York. His first assignment for a sound film was The Struggle (1931), D.W. Griffith's final film.[6] In 1934, Ruttenberg signed with MGM, moving to Hollywood where he was invited to join the American Society of Cinematographers.

Joseph Ruttenberg retired from MGM in 1968 and died in Los Angeles on May 1, 1983.




L-R: Deborah Kerr, Greer Garson & Joseph Ruttenberg on the set of Julius Caesar (1953)

Academy Awards wins:

Golden Globe Award win:

Academy Award nominations:


  • "Photographing Pre-Production Tests," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), January 1956.
  • "Sound-Stage Sea Saga," in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), April 1960.
  • Positif (Paris), September 1972.
  • Seminar in American Cinematographer (Hollywood), July 1975.
  • Focus on Film (London), Spring 1976.
  • In Dance in the Hollywood Musical, by Jerome Delamater, Ann Arbor, Michigan, 1981.
  • Film History (Philadelphia), vol. 1, no. 1, 1987.[8]


  1. ^ Joseph Ruttenberg at IMDb.
  2. ^ Birth place. "".
  3. ^ 1895 passenger list. "".
  4. ^ Dec 1894 passenger list from liverpool. "".
  5. ^ Steeman, Albert. Internet Encyclopedia of Cinematographers, "Joseph Ruttenberg page," Rotterdam, The Netherlands, 2007. Last accessed: December 22, 2007.
  6. ^ Joseph Ruttenberg at AllMovie.
  7. ^ Goble, Alan. The Complete Index to World Film, since 1885. 2008. Index home page.
  8. ^ Film Reference. Joseph Ruttenberg publications section, 2007. Last accessed: December 22, 2007.

External linksEdit