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Byron Haskin

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Byron Haskin
Byron Haskin - Jun 1922 EH.jpg
Haskin in 1922
Byron Conrad Haskin

(1899-04-22)April 22, 1899
DiedApril 16, 1984(1984-04-16) (aged 84)
Occupation(s)Film director, television director, cinematographer, producer, special effects artist
Years active1922–1968
SpouseTerry Gates
ChildrenShirley Haskin Flynn

Byron Conrad Haskin (April 22, 1899 – April 16, 1984) was an American film and television director, special effects creator and cinematographer.[1][2] He is best known for directing The War of the Worlds (1953), one of many films where he teamed with producer George Pal.


Haskin was born in Portland, Oregon, where his father was employed as a schoolteacher.[3] Both Haskins' mother and father were natives of California.[4] Haskin was raised primarily in San Francisco.[5]

He graduated from the University of California. He went out to Hollywood in 1917 and became the apprentice of cameraman H. Lyman Broening.[2] He was hired as the cinematographer in 1922 for Hurricane's Gal. In his early career, he was also a special effects artist, with a number of credits on Warner Bros. films, eventually becoming the head of the studio's special effects department (1937–1945).[2] During his tenure there, he earned four Oscar nominations for his effects work, all shared with Nathan Levinson:

In 1938, he and the Warner Bros. special effects department were awarded a Academy Scientific and Technical Award for developing a rear-projection system useful in effects photography.[citation needed]

In the late 1940s, he returned to directing, having directed four films in 1927. He helmed two film-noir thrillers: I Walk Alone (1947), starring Burt Lancaster, Lizabeth Scott and Kirk Douglas, and Too Late for Tears (1949), starring Lizabeth Scott. Hal B. Wallis had previously sent the then-unknown Lancaster to audition for Haskin; this led to him being signed by Wallis and cast as the male lead in The Killers (1946), the role which made him a star.[6] Amongst Haskin's other prominent films as director was Treasure Island (1950), one of Walt Disney's earliest live-action features. Following The War of the Worlds, he continued his collaboration with George Pal with The Naked Jungle (1954), Conquest of Space (1955), and The Power (1968). His other significant film is the science fiction adventure Robinson Crusoe on Mars (1964).

Haskin also worked as a cinematographer and producer, as well as an occasional visual effects artist, notably doing the animation of photos of ships patterned after the Martian ships in War of the Worlds for his later film Robinson Crusoe on Mars. While not science-fiction, but important for the special effects, he directed the treasure-hunt thriller September Storm, one of the only films produced in Stereo-Vision, a short-lived process which combined widescreen, similar to CinemaScope or Panavision, and 3D, one of the first to do so with underwater sequences.

His career in television included directing six episodes of The Outer Limits (1963–65), including the episodes "The Architects of Fear" (1963) and "Demon with a Glass Hand" (1964). He also co-produced the original Star Trek pilot episode, "The Cage" (1965). He retired in 1968.[1]

Haskin appeared as an interviewee in a documentary series Hollywood (1980), about the silent film era, which was co-produced by Kevin Brownlow.

Haskin died of lung cancer[7] in Montecito, California, six days before his 85th birthday.[1]

Personal life

Haskin was married twice. He was survived by his second wife, the former Terry Gates; and a daughter from his first marriage, Shirley Flynn. His daughter married actor Joe Flynn.

Selected filmography



Complete listing.

Special effects


  1. ^ a b c "No Headline". The New York Times. April 19, 1984. p. 15. Retrieved March 19, 2019. Byron Haskin, a cameraman in the early days of silent films who later became a director, died of lung cancer Monday at his home in Montecito, Calif. He was 84 years old
  2. ^ a b c Folkart, Burt A. (April 18, 1984). "Cameraman/Director Byron Haskin Dies". Los Angeles Times – via open access
  3. ^ Haskin & Adams 1984, pp. 2–3.
  4. ^ Haskin & Adams 1984, p. 2.
  5. ^ Haskin & Adams 1984, pp. 2–4.
  6. ^ "The Lancaster Lad". Chicago Tribune. June 13, 1948 – via open access
  7. ^ "Byron Haskin". Turner Classic Movies. Archived from the original on May 29, 2023.


  • Haskin, Byron; Adams, Joe (1984). An Interview with Byron Haskin. Directors Guild of America. ISBN 978-0-810-81740-1.
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Byron Haskin
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