Archived posting to the Leica Users Group, 2000/02/11

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Subject: [Leica] Grey Villet Dies
From: "Sal DiMarco,Jr." <>
Date: Fri, 11 Feb 2000 19:43:10 -0500

    Grey Villet, a retired LIFE Magazine photogapher died of a heart attack
earlier this week. He was 73 years-old. Born in Cape Town, South Africa.
    Villet joined the staff in 1955 and left in 1972.
    He was the master of the classic "fly on the wall" style of
photojournalism and he was the absolute master of the 180mm f/2.8 Sonnar.
    Villet's best know picture is "The Hand That Shook The Democrats." It
shows Estes Kefauver with an outstretched hand enlongated by a wide angle
lens, shot in 1956. This photo started a long line of cliche copies.
    He covered Fidel Castro's trimuphant drive into Havana. With his wife,
Barbara Cummiskey they created some of the finest in-depth stories ever to
appear in LIFE.
    The best of which was a year-old look at the Levi Smith family of
Vermont. It ran fifty pages in installments in the magazine.
    They published two books. Those Whom God Chooses, by Barbara and Grey
Villet, New York: Viking Press 1966 and Blood River, by Barbara and Grey
Villet, New York: Everest House, 1982.
        Villet is the second LIFE photographer to die with in the past
month. Ed Clark who was best know for his photograph of Graham Jackson
playing the accordion at in Warm Springs, GA when FDR died. There is a very
good interview with Ed Clark on Dirck Halstead's Digital Journalist web
    Both men were Leica users. Somewhere, I remember seeing a snap of Grey
with his 180 Sonnar up to his eye and around his neck were two chrome MPs.

Sal DiMarco, Jr.