Former Academy President John Bailey peacefully passed away on Friday, November 10

Culture

The former head of the American A.M.P.A.S. peacefully passed away in Los Angeles at the age of 81.


“It is with deep sadness I share with you that my best friend and husband, John Bailey, passed away peacefully in his sleep early this morning. During John’s illness, we reminisced how we met 60 years ago and were married for 51 of those years.  We shared a wonderful life of adventure in film and made many long-lasting friendships along the way. John will forever live in my heart,” said his wife, Carol Littleton.

“All of us at the Academy are deeply saddened to learn of John’s passing,” said Academy CEO Bill Kramer and Academy President Janet Yang.  “John was a passionately engaged member of the Academy and the film community. He served as our President and as an Academy governor for many years and played a leadership role in the Cinematographers Branch. His impact and contributions to the film community will forever be remembered.  Our thoughts and support are with Carol at this time.”

Bailey’s prolific career spanned nearly five decades, contributing to iconic films such as “Ordinary People,” “The Big Chill,” and “Groundhog Day.” He served as Academy President from 2017-2019, making history as the first cinematographer in this role. A member of the Cinematographers Branch since 1981, Bailey dedicated 15 years as an Academy governor. His involvement extended to various committees, including Preservation and History, Nicholl Fellowships in Screenwriting, and the Science and Technology Council.

He also represented the Academy on the Library of Congress’s National Film Preservation Board. Bailey, a distinguished member of the American Society of Cinematographers, held leadership roles and served on the juries of esteemed film festivals. His numerous accolades include the Ojai Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award and the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award. Survived by his wife Carol Littleton, an Oscar-nominated film editor, Bailey’s memorial service details will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Academy Foundation in memory of John Bailey.

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