RON GALELLA (born 1931)
Ron Galella was born in 1931 in the Bronx, New York and served as a United States Air Force photographer during the Korean conflict, after which he attended the Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles and graduated with a degree in photojournalism.
Galella quickly became the most famous and most controversial celebrity photographer in the United States, dubbed “the godfather of the US paparazzi” by TIME Magazine. He photographed some of the most exciting and glamorous stars of the 1970s and 1980s, snapping pictures of them walking down the street, going to movie premieres and partying at Studio 54. Notorious for going to extreme lengths to get the perfect shot, Galella found himself in altercations with his famous subjects more than once. He has been punched in the jaw by Marlon Brando (a $40,000 punch according to the terms of the out-of-court settlement), nearly killed pursuing Julie Christie along the Pacific Coast Highway, beaten up by Richard Burton’s bodyguards in Cuernavaca, and hosed down by friends of Brigitte Bardot. His most famous subject, and perhaps his most famous battle, was Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis. His obsession with photographing Onassis led to multiple court battles and a restraining order, but also his most recognized photograph, Windblown Jackie.
Ron Galella’s photographs been exhibited in museums such as The Museum of Modern Art in New York, The International Center of Photography in New York, the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, the Tate Modern in London, and the Helmut Newton Foundation Museum of Photography in Berlin. He has published almost a dozen books, including Jacqueline in 1974, Disco Years in 2006, Warhol by Galella: That’s Great! in 2008, and Jackie: My Obsession in 2012. In 2010, Galella was the subject of Smash His Camera, a feature-length documentary directed by Leon Gast.