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Russ Meyer
Russ Meyer by Roger Ebert.jpg
Meyer in 1996 (photo by Roger Ebert)
Russell Albion Meyer

(1922-03-21)March 21, 1922
Died September 18, 2004(2004-09-18) (aged 82)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Years active 1947–2001
Betty Valdovinos
(m. 1949⁠–⁠1950)
Eve Meyer
(m. 1952⁠–⁠1966)
Edy Williams
(m. 1970⁠–⁠1975)

Russell Albion Meyer (March 21, 1922 – September 18, 2004) was an American film director, producer, screenwriter, cinematographer, and editor.

Early years

Russ Meyer was born in San Leandro, California, the son of Lydia Lucinda (Hauck) and William Arthur Meyer, an Oakland police officer. His parents were both of German descent. Meyer's parents divorced soon after he was born, and Meyer was to have virtually no contact with his father during his life. When he was 14 years old, his mother pawned her wedding ring in order to buy him an 8 mm film camera. He made a number of amateur films at the age of 15, and served during World War II as a U.S. Army combat cameraman for the 166th Signal Photo Company, ultimately attaining the rank of staff sergeant.

In the Army, Meyer forged his strongest friendships, and he would later ask many of his fellow combat cameramen to work on his films. Much of Meyer's work during World War II can be seen in newsreels and in the film Patton (1970).

On his return to civilian life, he was unable to secure cinematography work in Hollywood due to a lack of industry connections. He made industrial films, freelanced as a still photographer for mainstream films (including Giant), and became a well known glamour photographer.

Personal and family life

Meyer was married to:

  • Betty Valdovinos (born 1922, divorced)
  • Eve Meyer (December 13, 1928 – March 27, 1977, died in the Tenerife airport disaster)
  • Edy Williams (born July 9, 1942, divorced)

Final years

Russ Meyer gravestone
Meyer's gravestone, located in the Stockton Rural Cemetery in Stockton, California

Meyer owned the rights to nearly all of his films and spent the majority of the 1980s and 1990s making millions reselling his films on the home video and DVD market. The Chicago Film Festival honored his work in 1985.

Starting in the mid-1990s, Meyer had frequent fits and bouts of memory loss. By 2000, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's disease, and his health and well-being were thereafter looked after by Janice Cowart, his secretary and estate executor. That same year, with no wife or children to claim his wealth, Meyer willed that the majority of his money and estate would be sent to the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center in honor of his late mother.

Russ Meyer died at his home in the Hollywood Hills (from complications of pneumonia), on September 18, 2004, at the age of 82. Meyer's grave is located at Stockton Rural Cemetery in San Joaquin County, California.

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Russ Meyer para niños

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