Skip to main content

James Wong Howe

George Hurrell, 1904 - 17 May 1992
James Wong Howe, 28 Aug 1899 - 12 Jul 1976
Gelatin silver print
Image/Sheet/Mount: 32.9 x 25.4cm (12 15/16 x 10")
Mat: 71.1 x 55.9cm (28 x 22")
Credit Line
National Portrait Gallery, Smithsonian Institution
Restrictions & Rights
© George Hurrell, Jr.
Object number
James Wong Howe: Asian\Chinese
James Wong Howe: American\Asian American\Chinese American
Exhibition Label
Born Taishan, Guangdong, China
James Wong Howe was one of Hollywood’s preeminent cinematographers; his filmography spans from 1923 to 1975. He began at the Lasky studios during the silent era, working as an assistant on Cecil B. DeMille’s early features. By the time "talkies" arrived, Howe was in demand, having established his reputation for, as he once said, making "old stars young, plump stars thin, ordinary faces beautiful." Howe was known for his technical innovations, such as using black-velvet camera hoods "to make blue eyes show up better on the orthochromatic film stock in use until the early 1920s." Among his noted films were The Thin Man (1934), The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), Yankee Doodle Dandy (1942), and The Old Man and the Sea (1958). Nominated for ten Academy Awards, Howe won two Oscars, for The Rose Tattoo (1956) and Hud (1963).
Data Source
National Portrait Gallery
See more items in
National Portrait Gallery Collection