Though a childhood accident left him with impaired vision in one eye, Lawrence Schiller became an obsessive photographer. He has captured some of the most famous pictures in the spheres of the entertainment and film industries. Schiller worked in multiple capacities as a director, an author, and a Hollywood photographer. He captured other Hollywood legends with his adventurous and fresh eyes. However, Marilyn would remain an essential part of his career. Schiller worked for LIFE, Paris Match, Time, Newsweek, Stern, and directed seven motion pictures.
Lawrence Schiller was born in 1936 in Brooklyn, New York, and grew up outside of San Diego, California. While attending Pepperdine College, his pictures appeared in Life, Sport, Playboy, Glamour, and the Saturday Evening Post. Schiller’s interests and ambitions soon developed into a profession in print journalism, documenting major stories for glossy magazines all over the world. His renowned images of Robert F. Kennedy, Richard Nixon, Bette Davis, Barbra Streisand, Marilyn Monroe, Muhammad Ali, and Madame Nhu, among others, are tributes to his doggedness, ingenuity, and charm as well as to his technical proficiency.
Schiller moved into motion pictures by directing a portion of Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid (1969) with Paul Newman and Robert Redford and Lady Sings the Blues (1972) with Diana Ross. His editorial direction of The Man Who Skied Down Everest (1972) won an Oscar for Best Feature Documentary for its producer. Perhaps nothing in Schiller’s career proved more remarkable, though, than his collaboration with Norman Mailer — a friendship unique in American literary history. For nearly thirty-five years, the two worked closely together, on books including Marilyn (1973), The Faith of Graffiti (1974), Oswald’s Tale (1995), Into the Mirror (2002), and The Executioner’s Song (1979), for which Mailer won the Pulitzer Prize.
Schiller embedded himself into the so-called “Dream Team” defending O. J. Simpson, and with his unique insider’s perspective on the case, co-wrote (with James Willwerth) the New York Times number one best-selling American Tragedy (1996). Schiller has been a consultant to NBC News, the John F. Kennedy Library Foundation, and the Annie Leibovitz Studios, among many other photographic archives. He has written for The New Yorker, The Daily Beast, and other publications. Upon the death of Norman Mailer in 2008, Schiller was named the President and Co-funder of the Norman Mailer Center and Writer’s Colony in Provincetown, Massachusetts. He currently is a consultant and advisor to various estates and trusts on monetizing and preserving the legacy of noted figures in American history.
SELECTED MUSEUM COLLECTIONS:
• Smithsonian American Art Museum, DC, US
• Millennium Museum, Beijing, CN
• National Gallery for Foreign Art, Sofia, BG