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Sydney Samuelson

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Sydney Samuelson
Sydney H. Wylie Samuelson

(1925-12-07)7 December 1925
Paddington, London, England[1]
Died14 December 2022(2022-12-14) (aged 97)
ChildrenPeter Samuelson
ParentG. B. Samuelson

Sir Sydney H. Wylie Samuelson CBE (7 December 1925 – 14 December 2022) was a British film director and cinematographer.[2] He was appointed in 1991 by the government of the UK as the first British Film Commissioner.[3]

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Early life

Sydney Wylie Samuelson was born in Paddington, London, to George Berthold Samuelson, a cinema pioneer of the silent film era, and Marjorie Emma Elizabeth Vint. He was educated at the Irene Avenue Council School in Lancing, West Sussex.[2]


Samuelson started his career as a rewind boy at the Luxor cinema in Lancing, West Sussex. After working in several cinemas in the Midlands as a relief operator for the ABC circuit, he got a job as a trainee film editor with Gaumont British, which was then at Lime Grove in London.

After serving in the Royal Air Force from 1943 to 1947,[4] he got a job as a trainee cameraman with the Colonial Film Unit. He then went on to work for Rayant Pictures, for whom he filmed the Coronation of Elizabeth II in 1953.[4] In 1954, he set up Samuelson Film Service, hiring out film equipment. He went on to become the first British Film Commissioner and remained in the post for six years. He was chosen as chairman of the management board of BAFTA in 1976 and was a permanent trustee.

In 1985, he received the Michael Balcon Award, and in 1993, he received a Fellowship of BAFTA, the Academy's highest honour. Samuelson was appointed a Commander of the British Empire (CBE) in the 1978 Birthday Honours for service to BAFTA, and knighted in the 1995 Birthday Honours for services to the film industry.[5][6]

Samuelson wrote the foreword featured in the book In Conversation with Cinematographers by David A. Ellis, published by the American publisher Rowman & Littlefield. He was the first President of the UK Jewish Film Festival. He remained in the role until 2005, and as of 2010 was the UKJFF Honorary Lifetime Patron.


Samuelson died at his home on 14 December 2022, aged 97.[7]


  1. ^ England & Wales, Civil Registration Birth Index, 1916–2007
  2. ^ a b Mosley, Charles, ed. (2003). Burke's Peerage, Baronetage & Knighthood (107 ed.). Burke's Peerage & Gentry. p. 3520. ISBN 0-9711966-2-1.
  3. ^ BFI
  4. ^ a b "Sir Sydney Samuelson CBE – British Cinematographer". British Cinematographer. 3 May 2015. Retrieved 22 April 2018.
  5. ^ UK list:"No. 47549". The London Gazette (Supplement). 2 June 1978. p. 6237.
  6. ^ The United Kingdom:"No. 54066". The London Gazette (1st supplement). 16 June 1995. p. 2.
  7. ^ Tabbara, Mona (15 December 2022). "UK film industry pioneer Sydney Samuelson dies aged 97". Screen Daily. Retrieved 15 December 2022.

External links

This page was last edited on 15 June 2024, at 10:26
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