Don Ornitz

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Don Ornitz (February 29, 1920—January 14, 1972) was a mid-century American magazine and celebrity photographer.


Donald Ornitz (1920-1972),  was born in New York City to parents Sadie and screenwriter Samuel Ornitz, one of the Hollywood Ten accused of Communism,[1] and was brother of cinematographer Arthur J. Ornitz.  In 1928 they moved to California where he spent most of his life.[2]


Ornitz photographed many celebrities,[3] including Raquel Welch, Frank Sinatra, Walt Disney, and Audrey Hepburn.[4] His obituary in Popular Photography magazine called him "the Titan of the Hollywood photographers".[5]

He was also a photographer for several magazines, including Playboy,[6] Travel and Camera,[7] The Saturday Evening Post, Look, Pageant, Globe, Sports Illustrated[8] and Life.[9][10][11]

His photograph of boys catching insects on a windowpane was selected by Edward Steichen for the 1955 Museum of Modern Art world-touring exhibition The Family of Man that was seen by 9 million visitors.[12][13]

As were many members of the entertainment community including his father, Ornitz was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee.[14]

Ornitz died January 14, 1972, in Los Angeles County, California, United States

Books by Don Ornitz[edit]

  • Ornitz, D. (1962) Living Photography, Maco.
  • Basch, P., Gowland, P., & Ornitz, D. (1958). Candid Photography. Fawcett Publications: Greenwich, Conn.


  1. ^ Ryskind, Allan H (2015), Hollywood traitors : blacklisted screenwriters : agents of Stalin, allies of Hitler, Washington, DC Regnery History, ISBN 978-1-62157-206-0
  2. ^ Ornitz, D. (1962). Living photography. New York: Maco.
  3. ^ Paglia, Camille. (1995). The Lives They Lived: Elizabeth Montgomery;The Good Witch.(Magazine Desk). The New York Times Magazine, The New York Times Magazine, Dec 31, 1995.
  4. ^ Don Ornitz (photographs) Oh What Sights-Water Sprites! In Life, 26 Apr 1963, Vol. 54, No. 17, ISSN 0024-3019, Published by Time Inc.
  5. ^ 'Tribute to Don Ornitz 1920-1972'. In Popular Photography, Volume 71, page 4
  6. ^ Goldsmith, Arthur A; Goldsmith, Arthur (1975), The nude in photography (1st ed.), Playboy Press, ISBN 978-0-87223-445-1
  7. ^ Travel and Camera, Volume 29, p.10, 42, 61, U.S. Camera Publishing Corporation, 1966
  8. ^ The Photographers: The best shooters are as competitive as the athletes they cover, so SI helps them keep score (and, yes, this list includes Joe DiMaggio, but, no, it's not the Yankee Clipper).(50th Anniversary/The Covers) Sports Illustrated, Nov 10, 2003, Vol.99(18), p.153
  9. ^ 'Elements of a New Trend'. In Life, 27 Jan 1958, Vol. 44, No. 4, p.61-64, ISSN 0024-3019
  10. ^ 'Everything's on the block'. In Life, 22 May 1970, Vol. 68, No. 19, p.46, 47, ISSN 0024-3019
  11. ^ 'Mirage-style Lingerie'. In Life, Volume 63, Issues 1-4, p.44-51, Time Incorporated, 1967
  12. ^ Steichen, Edward; Norman, Dorothy (1955). Mason, Jerry, ed. The family of man : the photographic exhibition. Sandburg, Carl, (writer of foreword), Lionni, Leo, (book designer), Stoller, Ezra, (photographer). New York, N.Y.: Museum of Modern Art / Maco Magazine Corporation.
  13. ^ Sandeen, Eric J (1995), Picturing an exhibition : the family of man and 1950s America (1st ed.), University of New Mexico Press, ISBN 978-0-8263-1558-8
  14. ^ United States Congress House Committee on Un-American Activities (1950), Hearings regarding communism in the United States Government. Hearings before the Committee on Un-American Activities, House of Representatives, Eighty-first Congress, second session, U.S. Govt. Printing Office, pp. 1221–1223