Dezo Hoffmann

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Dezo Hoffmann
Banska Stiavnica, today Slovakia
London, England

Dezider Hoffmann (most often credited as Dezo Hoffmann or Dežo Hoffmann, 1912[1][dubious ] - 1986) was a Slovak photographer, photojournalist and cameraman from Czechoslovakia. He earned international acclaim in the 1960s, shooting photographs of well known pop and showbiz personalities, such as The Beatles, The Rolling Stones, Dusty Springfield, Charlie Chaplin, Sophia Loren, Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Laurence Olivier, The Kinks, The Shadows, Tom Jones, Jimi Hendrix, Frank Sinatra, Bob Marley, Duke Ellington, Louis Armstrong, Elton John, Omar Sharif and Pink Floyd.


Hoffmann was born on 24 May 1912[dubious ] in Banská Štiavnica, Kingdom of Hungary now Slovakia.[1] After studying journalism in Prague, he worked at Twentieth Century Fox in Paris as a photojournalist. During Mussolini's invasion of Abyssinia he was sent to make a documentary of the invasion. After returning from Africa he was sent to Spain to film the 1936 People's Olympiad (a protest against the official Olympic games in Berlin under Hitler's propaganda). Soon after he arrived in Spain, the civil war broke out and Dezo found himself on the barricades. In this period he met personalities such as Hemingway and Robert Capa. Allegedly the three men formed an inseparable trio.

Facing war dangers Dezo was injured a few times. The third injury was serious, leaving him without memory for several months. After recovery he moved to England and joined the squadron of Czechoslovak pilots flying with the RAF during World War II.[citation needed]

After the war he remained in London, working for various newspapers and magazines. In 1955 he began his collaboration with Record Mirror magazine, which was the start of his career photographing show-business celebrities.

In 1962 he went to Liverpool to shoot an unknown but promising group - The Beatles. Mutual appreciation and sympathy led to a long-lasting relationship between Hoffmann and the group. Dezo also made an 8mm colour film during this first Beatles assignment, which must be the first ever colour film taken of them, also featuring many scenes actually shot by the Beatles. His photo collection of the Beatles is shown in the Egri Road Beatles Múzeum in Hungary since 2015.[2]

It is said that Paul McCartney had declared him the world's best photographer. During the following years Hoffmann's famous photos of The Beatles attracted the attention of many other stars. He was regarded as a "nice chap" who was appreciated and welcomed wherever he went despite his strong foreign accent. Most of the photos used in The Beatles' Live at the BBC CD/LP, including the front cover photo, were taken by Dezo.

In 1982, Omnibus Press published With the Beatles - The historic photographs of Dezo Hoffmann (ISBN 0-399-41009-0), showing some of the photos captured by Dezo during the prime time of Beatlemania. This book is out of print as Dezo's Beatles photos collection has been acquired by Apple Corps Ltd.[citation needed] Hoffmann sold 100 of his Beatles negatives to Australian Colin Kaye whose Silver K Art Infinitum continues to manage sales of editioned archival prints from them.[3][4][5][6][7] The remainder of Dezo's archive of approximately 1 million photographs of countless pop musicians and showbiz personalities was acquired by Rex Features,[8] the photo agency and photo library which had represented Dezo for worldwide media sales of his work from the early 1960s until his death.

Dezo Hoffmann died on 29 March 1986 aged 73 in the Harley Street Clinic, London. He was cremated at Golders Green Crematorium where his ashes were scattered on the bluebell lawn.[dubious ]

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ a b "Dezo Hoffman". Photographer's forum. Photographer's forum. 12-13: 32. 1989.
  2. ^ Rolling in Budapest, Fabulous Four Lads arrived to the Egri Museum, 17 May 2015
  3. ^ Dwyer, M. 'The Dezo Factor'. In The Age Thursday June 2, 2005
  4. ^ Yasui, Todd Allan. "Washington Post February 12, 1990".
  5. ^ Pulkka, Wesley 'Photographer had carte blanche for intimate look at Beatles'. In Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, NM) | April 26, 1998
  6. ^ Court, Stuart "All You Need Is Money. In the Sydney Morning Herald Sydney, New South Wales Friday, December 5, 1986 Page 35
  7. ^ see Colin Kaye's website [1]
  8. ^ Archived 2011-07-17 at the Wayback Machine Dezo Hoffmann at Rex Features
  9. ^ Archived 2012-03-26 at the Wayback Machine Fotograf Beatles: Dezo Hoffmann, biography by Marián Pauer
  10. ^ Fotograf Beatles: Dezo Hoffmann, biography by Marián Pauer

External links[edit]