William C. Foster

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William C. Foster
William C Foster.jpg
Foster in 1920
Born (1880-12-28)December 28, 1880
Bushnell, Illinois
Died January 18, 1923(1923-01-18) (aged 42)
Occupation Cinematographer
Title A.S.C. Founding member

William C. Foster was a pioneer of cinematography.


He was born in Bushnell, Illinois, on December 28, 1880, and went to work for the Chicago-based Selig Polyscope Company in 1901, at a time when Selig was turning out 50' and 100' actualities and trick films. Foster left Selig in May 1911 to join Carl Laemmle’s Independent Moving Pictures Company (IMP). In 1915, he signed with the Equitable Motion Picture Corporation, working in New York and Florida. Foster was lead cinematographer on the first five two-reelers Charlie Chaplin made for Mutual Film Corporation in 1916: The Floorwalker, The Fireman, One A.M., The Count and The Vagabond. He later shot a number of pictures for director Frank Lloyd, including A Tale of Two Cities (Fox, 1917) and The Silver Horde (Goldwyn, 1920), and also worked with director Lois Weber.

Foster died on January 18, 1923, from complications related to syphilis, a disease euphemistically described as the “general paralysis of the insane.”


  • Charlie Chaplin Cavalcade (1938)
  • Too Wise Wives (1921) (as Wm. C. Foster)
  • Oliver Twist, Jr. (1921)
  • What's Worth While? (1921)
  • The Silver Horde (1920)
  • When Dawn Came (1920)
  • A Woman of Pleasure (1919)
  • The Pagan God (1919)
  • The Man Who Turned White (1919)
  • The Man Hunter (1919) (as Billy Foster)
  • For Freedom (1918) (as Billy Foster)
  • True Blue (1918)
  • The Blindness of Divorce (1918) (as Billy Foster)
  • The Heart of a Lion (1917) (as Billy Foster)
  • Les misérables (1917)
  • When a Man Sees Red (1917) (as Billy Foster)
  • American Methods (1917) (as Billy Foster)
  • A Tale of Two Cities (1917) (as Billy Foster)
  • The Price of Silence (1917) (as Billy Foster)
  • Sins of Her Parent (1916)
  • The Vagabond (1916)
  • The Fireman (1916) (as W.C. Foster)
  • The Floorwalker (1916)
  • The Career of Waterloo Peterson (1914) (as William Foster)
  • Shon the Piper (1913)
  • The Vampire (1910)

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