Douglas Kirkland

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Douglas Kirkland
Douglas Morley Kirkland

(1934-08-16)August 16, 1934
Died (aged 88)

Douglas Morley Kirkland (August 16, 1934 – October 2, 2022)[1][2] was a Canadian-born American photographer. He was noted for his photographs of celebrities, especially the ones he took of Marilyn Monroe several months before her death.

Early life[edit]

Kirkland was born in Toronto on August 16, 1934.[3] He was raised in nearby Fort Erie, where his father managed a small store that sold suits. He later recounted how he developed his penchant for photography while perusing the Life magazines his father brought back from his store. Kirkland attended Seneca Vocational High School in Buffalo, New York, before immigrating to the United States permanently.[3]


Kirkland first worked for a printing studio in Richmond, Virginia. He then served as Sherwin Greenberg's assistant for a year starting in 1957. He was subsequently employed by Look magazine.[3] It was in that capacity that he was allocated a photo session with Marilyn Monroe in 1961. The photos, taken only a few months prior to her death, became some of the most noteworthy ones of her, thereby kick-starting his career.[3][4]

Over the years, various notable persons later posed for Kirkland, from the great photography innovator Man Ray and photographer/painter Jacques Henri Lartigue to Dr. Stephen Hawking.[5][6] Entertainment celebrities he photographed included Romy Schneider,[7] Audrey Hepburn,[3] Mick Jagger,[8] Sting, Björk,[8][9] Arnold Schwarzenegger, Morgan Freeman, Orson Welles, Andy Warhol, Oliver Stone, Mikhail Baryshnikov, Leonardo DiCaprio,[10] Coco Chanel,[3] Marlene Dietrich,[11] Brigitte Bardot, Judy Garland,[10] Elizabeth Taylor,[11] Sophia Loren,[10] Catherine Deneuve,[12] Michael Jackson,[10] Paris Hilton,[13] and Diana Ross.[14] Kirkland's portrait of Charlie Chaplin is at the National Portrait Gallery in London.[11]

Kirkland was contracted for work around the world and worked in the motion picture industry as a special photographer on more than 150 films. These included 2001: A Space Odyssey, The Sound of Music,[3] Sophie's Choice, Out of Africa, The Pirate Movie, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,[8] Romancing the Stone,[15] Titanic, and Moulin Rouge!.[3] Some of his famous film shots include John Travolta in the dance sequence from Saturday Night Fever,[16][17] a portrait of Judy Garland crying,[18] and the March 1976 Playboy pictorial of Margot Kidder.[3] In 1995 Kirkland received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the American motion pictures Society of Operating Cameramen.[19]

Kirkland's picture book, Titanic (1998), was the first of its kind to reach No.1 on the New York Times Best Seller list and did so on both the hardcover and paperback lists.[19] He followed this with the book project titled A Life in Pictures, which was released in 2013.[20]

Personal life[edit]

Kirkland was married to Françoise until his death.[3][21] He had three children: Karen, Lisa, and Mark, who is a director of The Simpsons.[8] They resided in Hollywood Hills during his later years.[21]


In 1993, Kirkland presented the illustrated book titled: "ICONS: Creativity with Camera and Computer", published by Collins Publishers, which consisted of sixty-six original photographs of famous people that were modified digitally to result in a new creation, each accompanied by a commentary paragraph. Many of the pictures were of well-known actresses and actors from Hollywood. It also included music entertainers like Michael Jackson, Grace Jones, and Billy Idol, and fashion models; it also shows a couple of compositions of the physicist Stephen Hawking. The cover of the book was based on a 1969 portrait of Andy Warhol.[22]


  1. ^ Sandomir, Richard (October 9, 2022). "Douglas Kirkland, Who Took Portraits of Movie Stars, Dies at 88". The New York Times. Retrieved October 9, 2022.
  2. ^ È morto a 88 anni Douglas Kirkland, il fotografo delle dive (in Italian)
  3. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Weaver, Jackson (October 4, 2022). "Douglas Kirkland, Canadian artist who famously photographed Marilyn Monroe, dead at 88". CBC News. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  4. ^ Friend, David (October 4, 2022). "Toronto-born photographer Douglas Kirkland, known for Marilyn Monroe pics, dies at 88". CTV News. The Canadian Press. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  5. ^ Gare, Shelley (October 15, 2016). "Marilyn, Or The Job: Photography". Australian Financial Review. p. 33. ProQuest 1828637549. Retrieved October 6, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  6. ^ Lasala, Anthony (June 1998). "Self portrait: Douglas Kirkland". Photo District News. Vol. 18, no. 6. p. 178. ProQuest 202863491. Retrieved October 6, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  7. ^ Look. Vol. 26. Cowles Communications. 1962. p. 14.
  8. ^ a b c d Saperstein, Pat (October 4, 2022). "Douglas Kirkland, Hollywood Photographer, Dies at 88". Variety. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  9. ^ "Bjork, Italy". Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  10. ^ a b c d Clarke, Suzanna (August 28, 2010). "The best angles on the stars". The Courier-Mail. Brisbane. p. 6. ProQuest 747539600. Retrieved October 6, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  11. ^ a b c "Douglas Kirkland, Photographer". London: National Portrait Gallery. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  12. ^ Burton, Tom (February 15, 1994). "A Different Digital Display Digital Imaging has Injected a New Creativity into Modern Photography, Says Veteran Lensman Douglas Kirkland". Orlando Sentinel. p. E1. ProQuest 278397461. Retrieved October 6, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  13. ^ Felperin, Leslie (September 30, 2020). "That Click review – photographer tribute develops into a dud". The Guardian. London. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  14. ^ "Diana Ross: Going Back". Publishers Weekly. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  15. ^ Gagon, Dave (April 25, 1998). "Photographer offers peek at his work". Deseret News. Salt Lake City. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  16. ^ Hunt, Nigel (May 22, 2016). "Hollywood photographer Douglas Kirkland finally gets show at home in Canada". CBC News. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  17. ^ "John Travolta". National Portrait Gallery. Smithsonian Institution. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  18. ^ "Douglas Kirkland". National Museum of American History. Smithsonian Institution. September 29, 2017. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  19. ^ a b "Art explores our deepest questions about life". Times & Transcript. Moncton. June 1, 2012. p. E4. ProQuest 1017944882. Retrieved October 6, 2022 – via ProQuest.
  20. ^ Kirkland, Douglas (2013). A Life in Pictures: The Douglas Kirkland Monograph. Glitterati. ISBN 9780988174580.
  21. ^ a b Nava, Sonia (December 21, 2017). "The legendary photographer who captures Hollywood's elite". CNN. Retrieved October 6, 2022.
  22. ^ Kirkland, Douglas. ICONS – Creativity with Camera and Computer. 1993 Collins Publishers; San Francisco. ISBN 0-00-255227-2. Hardcover, 10-1/4"x10-1/4" laminate color, 96 pages.

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