George Barris, American (1922 - 2016)
George Barris was born June 14, 1922 at 24 Delancey Street, Manhattan lower east side, New York City, to Joseph and Eva Barris who were emigrants from Romania. On his sixth birthday his brother Willie bought him a box camera. Fascinated by the magic of the camera, George quickly mastered how to load film, click the camera shutter, develop the film in their home, and printing of the films negatives into the magical photos he took.
His life’s dream all started with his first box camera, then the folding camera, and his favorite cameras the Rolleiflex and Nikon Cameras. His second camera was the folding camera that he always carried to school taking pictures of people and interesting places wherever he went. As a teenager he realized his pictures were a way of making money as friends and their families paid him to take their pictures. The local Church's pastors had him take their photos. He became known as the kid with a camera.
George realized that's what he wanted to be, a professional photographer. It would be away to travel, meet interesting people and see the world. Taking pictures of local events and happenings he took his photos to editors of the newspapers and magazines that liked his photos, encouraged him and told him the best way to get assignments was to come-up with ideas for picture stories.
When World War II broke out, George was the official army photographer from 1942-1945 and was assigned to General Dwight D. Eisenhower’s victory homecoming celebration. George created an album of the events. He received a special album autographed by General Eisenhower.
He got his first such assignment from a magazine that was part of newspapers called "Parade". The editors liked his work and soon other magazines asked him for his story-photos suggestions. Editors soon became his friends and his story ideas became a way of life. George traveled the U.S.A., Canada, overseas created a special interest all Florida Issue of Cosmopolitan Magazine, Covered for Life Magazine, coal strikes in West Virginia and Pittsburgh, sports events, famous film stars, and movies stars such as Steve McQueen, Charlie Chaplin, Marlon Brando, John Wayne, Elizabeth Taylor, Clark Gable, Frank Sinatra, and world famous Marilyn Monroe. George first met and photographed Marilyn in 1954 in New York City where she was on location for the film, The Seven Year Itch, where they became friends. George was the last professional photographer to take photos of Marilyn Monroe in her last photo shoot on July 13, 1962 before her untimely death. After the tragic death of his friend Marilyn Monroe, George moved to Paris and lived there for 20 years. He returned to the U.S.A. with his French wife Carla and two daughters, Caroline and Stephanie. He now resides in California.