George S. Barnes

Samson and Delilah film still 2.jpg
George Barnes at top right behind Cecil B. DeMille on set of Samson and Delilah (1949)
Born(1892-10-16)October 16, 1892
DiedMay 30, 1953(1953-05-30) (aged 60)
Years active1918–1953
Helen Howell
(m. 1915, divorced)
Ethel Johnson
(m. 1923; div. 1923)
Marie Namara
(m. 1926; div. 1932)
(m. 1933; div. 1936)
Elizabeth Wood
(m. 1936; div. 1938)
Melba Marshall
(m. 1939; div. 1945)
Margaret Atkinson
(m. 1947)
Children4, including Norman Powell

George S. Barnes, A.S.C. (October 16, 1892 – May 30, 1953) was an American cinematographer active from the era of silent films to the early 1950s.


Over the course of his career, Barnes was nominated for an Academy Award eight times, including for his work on The Devil Dancer (1927) with Gilda Gray and Clive Brook. He won once, for his work on the Alfred Hitchcock film Rebecca (1940). "Barnes’ photographic interpretation of Rebecca is the sort of thing to which his fellow cinematographers may point, as indeed they did in bestowing upon it the industry's premiere Award, as a complete example of what truly great camerawork can mean to a production".[1]

He was married seven times.

His first marriage was to Helen Howell in 1915. They eventually divorced and she would later become the first wife of Frank Capra. He was married to Ethel Johnson from 1923 to 1923, then to Marie Namara from 1926 to 1932.

He was married to Joan Blondell from 1933 to 1936 and filmed five of Blondell's Warner Bros. pictures. In fact, they met on The Greeks Had a Word for Them set in which she had the leading role. Their relationship is often said to have been intense. In an interview, Blondell stated that Barnes cured her from lying. Barnes was the biological father of Blondell's son, the television executive Norman Powell (born November 2, 1934), who was adopted in 1938 by Blondell's second husband, actor Dick Powell.

He was married to Elizabeth "Betty" Wood from 1936 to 1938; they had a son named George Carlton Barnes (born December 18, 1937).

Barnes had two daughters with Melba Marshall Kruger (pseudonym of Melba Mae Kruger), to whom he was married from 1939 to 1945: Barbara Ann Barnes (born April 16, 1940) and Georgene S. Barnes (born May 7, 1942).[2]

In 1947, he married for the final time, to Margaret Atkinson.

He died at the age of 60 in Los Angeles, California, after having worked on at least 142 films. He is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California.[3]


Awards and nominations

At the 13th Awards Banquet of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, Barnes was proclaimed the winner of the 1940 Academy Award for the year's best black-and-white cinematography in recognition of his skill in filming Rebecca.


  1. ^ "George Barnes Wins 1940 Academy Award", American Cinematographer, 22 (3): 103, March 1941, retrieved 1 September 2021
  2. ^ "George Barnes". IMDb. Retrieved 1 April 2021.
  3. ^ Legends of Hollywood Forever Cemetery