Ornitz was never affiliated with a
studio or a production company. He worked as a free-lance
Director of Photography throughout his entire career with
the exception of a short term contract with Screen Gems,
A complete filmography of Ornitz's films can be found on
was fearless and did not suffer fools gladly. The stories
about how demanding he could be are still repeated by those
who knew him. He was very independent and one of a kind.
He is remembered by everyone with whom he worked. At a recent
memorial service held at the Academy Theatre for Richard
Silbert, Dustin Hoffman remembered Ornitz as the Director
of Photography on Hoffman's first film, Next Stop Greenwich
Village. It is not every Director of Photography who
is remembered 40 years later by an actor.
During the filming of Me Natalie
with Patty Duke, when the director found fault with Patty's
acting. Ornitz told her to assert herself because she was
the star. "Oh no," Patty said, "I'm not the star of this
movie, Arthur, you are."
Ornitz made his presence felt no
matter where he was or with whom he worked or what
he was doing. He was a strong personality, a man's
man who liked to spend hours with people he found
interesting like Peter Sellers or Sean Connery,
films he worked on with both men. His nickname for
Peter Sellers was "the Hawk". Ornitz died of cancer
His surviving son, Kim Harris Ornitz, a
sound mixer, is a third generation Ornitz to be affiliated
with the film industry. Kim's latest film is After the
Sunset with Pierce Brosnan. He is now working on a
film in Delhi, India with Albert Brooks.
Wane Ornitz, Ph.D.
Hilda Wane Ornitz earned a Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology
in 1970 from CUNY. She was an Assistant Professor at New
York University Medical Center and worked at Bellevue Psychiatric
Hospital for ten years following which she was recruited
for a position as chief of a mental health center by the
Department of Health in Honolulu, Hawaii. She is now retired
and lives in Los Angeles, California.