July 8th, 2008

carole lombard 02
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So nice and Lacy

In yesterday's entry on photographer Scotty Welbourne, we mentioned how he probably enjoyed working with Carole Lombard when she made "Fools For Scandal" at Warners, her first (and, as it turned out, only) film made for that studio. Well, the same applies to another noted Warners still lensman, Madison Lacy, whose session with Lombard resulted in this shot:

Lacy had a long and fascinating career in the film industry dating back to the teens, where he worked for D.W. Griffith's fabled cameraman, Billy Bitzer. By the 1920s, he joined Hal Roach's staff, then shot publicity at Paramount (including Erich von Stroheim's 1928 classic "The Wedding March").

Lacy joined the Warners staff in 1933, taking many "leg art" pictures of Toby Wing and other Busby Berkeley showgirls. After World War II, he worked with David O. Selznick for a while.

Not many photographers can claim to have worked with both Carole Lombard and a later icon, Marilyn Monroe. A Marilyn site lists 93 photgraphers who worked with her (http://www.marisolecitosuiteofmarilynmonroe.com/galleries.html), and I recognize only a handful who apparently also worked with Lombard. Lacy shot a number of pre-stardom Monroe pics, such as these two delightful stills from 1949:

And in 1947 -- many years before "The Manchurian Candidate," much less "Murder She Wrote" -- Lacy took this shot of a young and lovely Angela Lansbury for the film "The Private Affairs Of Bel Ami":

Lacy died in 1978, a few months before his 80th birthday -- but before leaving us, he helped compile a few books about the heyday of Hollywood glamour photography, including this tribute to "leg art":

Incidentally, note that Lacy's name was misspelled. And those legs in the lower right-hand corner of the cover? They're Carole's, as this makes clear (and no, Lacy didn't take this picture):

In the book, Lacy called Carole "a classy leg-art lady...Carole was always a star who didn't act like one." He added Lombard "knew how to pose, and she knew the value of good leg art. She was also careful to avoid bad leg art."
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