Mike deGruy

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Mike deGruy
DeGruy in 2010
Michael V. deGruy

(1951-12-29)December 29, 1951
DiedFebruary 4, 2012(2012-02-04) (aged 60)
Known forUnderwater cinematography
Websitewww.mikedegruy.com Edit this at Wikidata

Michael V. deGruy[1] (December 29, 1951 – February 4, 2012) was an American documentary filmmaker specializing in underwater cinematography. His credits include Life in the Freezer, Trials of Life, The Blue Planet and Pacific Abyss. He was also known for his storytelling, including a passionate TED talk about his love of the ocean on the Mission Blue Voyage.[2] His company, Film Crew Inc., specialized in underwater cinematography, filming for the BBC, PBS, National Geographic, and the Discovery Channel. His notable accomplishments include diving beneath thermal vents in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. He was a member of many deep sea expeditions and was a part of the team that first filmed the vampire squid and the nautilus.[3]


Mike deGruy was attacked on April 2, 1978, by a grey reef shark. He was severely bitten on his lower right forearm.[4]

The Deepwater Horizon oil spill of 2010 impacted him and began his shift to environmental activism.[5]

He was also part of the Deepsea Challenge, where James Cameron went to the bottom of the Mariana Trench.


On February 4, 2012, deGruy died in a helicopter crash[6] at Jaspers Brush near the town of Berry in New South Wales, Australia. The crash also claimed the life of Australian filmmaker Andrew Wight.[7][8][9] Marine biologist Edith Widder dedicated her 2013 TED talk detailing the first filming of the giant squid to his memory.[10]

In 2016, production began on a feature-film documentary about his life and work titled Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy.[11] The documentary was released in 2020.[12]


  1. ^ Leith, Terri (February 6, 2012). "Mike DeGruy, CALS 2010-11 Distinguished Alumnus, Has Died in Helicopter Crash". North Carolina State University. Retrieved December 27, 2022.
  2. ^ deGruy, Mike. "Hooked By an Octopus".
  3. ^ "Mike deGruy". TED.
  4. ^ "Mike deGruy: 1951-2012". Santa Barbara Independent. February 15, 2012.
  5. ^ "Support the Mike deGruy Documentary". Santa Barbara Independent. November 10, 2016. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  6. ^ Aviation safety investigations & reports - Collision with terrain - Robinson R44, VH-COK, Jaspers Brush, NSW, 4 February 2012 Archived August 23, 2017, at the Wayback Machine Australian Transport Safety Bureau
  7. ^ Celebrated Filmmakers Killed in Australian Helicopter Crash National Geographic, February 5, 2012
  8. ^ Top filmmakers Mike deGruy and Andrew Wight have died in a NSW chopper crash The Australian, February 5, 2012
  9. ^ Macfadyen, William M. (February 4, 2012). "Santa Barbara Filmmaker Mike deGruy Killed in Australia Helicopter Crash". Noozhawk. Retrieved July 18, 2021.
  10. ^ TED Talk 2013 - Edith Widder: How we found the giant squid on YouTube
  11. ^ "Diving Deep: The Life and Times of Mike deGruy". divingdeepmovie.com. Retrieved November 10, 2016.
  12. ^ Shelton, Heather (January 5, 2020). "'Diving Deep' Debuts: HSU Journalism Grad Is Now a Documentary Filmmaker". Times-Standard. Retrieved July 18, 2021.

Further reading[edit]

  • Gilliam, Bret C. (2007). Diving Pioneers and Innovators. New World Publications. ISBN 978-1-878348-42-5.

External links[edit]