Oswald (Ossie) Morris OBE, DFC, AFC, BSC.

OSSIE at HomeSadly our patron of over 30 years, Ossie Morris, passed away in March 2014 aged 98. He has been variously described as “Legendary” and “one of the most innovative colour cinematographers in history”. The loss to our club is palpable.

To the world he is best remembered for many movie classics such as Moulin Rouge, Moby Dick, Lolita and Fiddler on the Roof, for which he won an Oscar. He worked for some of the great directors including, John Huston, Sidney Lumet, Carol Reed, Stanley Kubrick, Franco Zeffirelli and his lifelong friend Ronald Neame.  His cinematic achievements are too many to list here so a visit to one of the many online tributes to him is suggested at: http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/entertainment-arts-26646395

To us however, Ossie was not just a great figurehead for the club but a mentor, friend and above all a great champion of everything we did. He always attended our film awards nights and annual dinners, often accompanied by his wife Lee who sadly passed away in 2003. Importantly though, he was always there for us in the background ready to help and advise our chairmen and committees over the years.  You could always pick up the telephone to discuss a problem with him or just keep him up to date with what was going on.

The high spot of our annual club programme was always Ossie’s Night. He did this every autumn until he became too frail to make the trip in from Fontmell Magna to Wimborne.  These talks were legendary.  The format was normally the same. He would pick one or two of his films, show some extracts and then give us an insight as to how the film was shot, together with stories about the filming and the director and stars involved.  Every talk turned into a Masterclass , they were brilliant. He was always very precise in his detail and thinking behind each scene or new innovation. He always showed absolute respect for the mega stars that he worked with, always referring to them as Mr. Burton, Miss Taylor or Mr. Bogart or whoever. He was a true gentleman and an inspiration.

An incident a few years ago sums up his contribution to our club. We were involved in a major project and there were a few problems and issues that needed consideration. I went out to see him armed with a script, some stills and a few test shots. We spent the whole afternoon discussing the film and he gave me lots of helpful advice. This was followed up a few days later with a neatly typed letter with still more help and advice. Our film went on to win a national award. He was a truly lovely man who will never be forgotten.

Ray Joyce – June 2014