Sam Shaw, born on the Lower East Side of Manhattan and a life-long New Yorker, began his career doing photographs for Collier's Magazine in the 1940's but soon found that his interest lay more in documentary work than the staged studio shots he was asked to do. This desire to capture real life and real people came through in the pictures he made of New Orleans jazz musicians, sharecroppersand coal miners. By 1951 he had started working in the film industry as a special photographer and his work on The Seven Year Itch created the iconic image of Marilyn over the subway grate. He met and began working with her early in her career and continued to shoot her through most of her professional life. Although he photographed practically every star in films he had a special way of capturing the spirit of his female subjects. He often liked to work without poses, make-up or glitz and encouraged them to have fun and improvise. In the 1960's he evolved into a feature film producer starting with the Paul Newman film, Paris Blues. Even as a producer his first love was always photography. He remained the special photographer on the set and helped create the publicity campaign for all of his films. Sam Shaw also worked closely with John Cassevettes producing a series of films where the actors created their characters on screen through improvisation. Not only did Sam Shaw create some of classic Hollywood's most celebrated images, but he was also a pioneer to a new artistic style and technique that paved the way for independent filmaking.
Feature Film Productions:
"Paris Blues": Producer (and original author of the story). Starring Paul Newman, Joanne Woodward, Sidney Poitier and Louis Armstrong. Music by Duke Ellington. (1961)
"What's New Pussycat": Creative Art Director for Charles K. Feldman (Famous Artists Company). Responsible for action sequences and promotional campaign. Starring Peter O'Toole, Ursula Andress and Woody Allen. (1964)
"Casino Royale" (007 James Bond): Produced action sequences, created story-board and Creative Director for Famous Artists Company. Starring Peter Sellers, David Niven and Woody Allen. (1966)
"Vince Lombardi's The Science And Art Of Football, With The Green Bay Packers": Producer and Director. Syndicated series, Twelve half/hour shows. Holt, Rinehart Winston, Inc. (1969)
"Husbands": Producer, created story-boards, headed advertising campaign and Public Relations Director. Directed by John Cassavetes. Starring John Cassavetes, Peter Falk and Ben Gazzara. Columbia Pictures. (1970)
"A Woman Under The Influence": Producer and Art Director for advertising and promotion. Directed by John Cassavetes. Starring Gena Rowlands and Peter Falk. (1974)
"The Killing Of A Chinese Bookie": Production Designer, Director of Advertising and Promotion and created the story-boards. Directed by John Cassavetes. Starring Ben Gazzara. Faces Distribution, Inc.. (1976)
"Opening Night": Executive Producer. Directed by John Cassavetes. Starring John Cassavetes, Gena Rowlands and Ben Gazzara. (1977)
"Gloria": Producer. Directed by John Cassavetes. Starring Gena Rowlands. Golden Lion award - Sam Shaw - Venice Film Festival. Columbia Pictures. (1980)
"Love Streams": Creative Producer. Directed by John Cassavetes. Starring John Cassavetes and Gena Rowlands. Golden Lion award - Berlin Film Festival. (1983)
"The West of Remington and Russell"
"Degas' Racing World" with Duke Ellington Music
"Blondie" - Rock Concert with Deborah Harry - Featured on the first show of "Entertainment Tonight"; camera - John Cassavetes, Fred Elmes.
Documentaries Featured In:
"Decisive Moments in History" BBC production. Sam Shaw's "Hi Sam Spade" (Marilyn Monroe).
"John Wayne" BBC production.
"Marilyn Monroe" CBC production.
"Marilyn Monroe" A&E production.
"Anthony Quinn" A&E production.
"Irving Berlin, An American Song" A&E production
Special Assignments: Publicity - Promotion - Advertising:
Paramount Pictures, 20th Century Fox, Columbia Pictures, Italian Film Export (IFE), Cinacitta, United Artists, MGM, Charles K. Feldman, Famous Artists Company, Faces Films and Walt Disney Productions.
"The Seven Year Itch"
"Heller With a Gun"
"A Streetcar Named Desire"
"Pride and Passion"
"Tchin Tchin" (The Play)
"Swiss Family Robinson"
"Pride and Passion"
"Satan Never Sleeps"
"The Longest Day"
"Love in the Afternoon"
"The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone"