Veteran television cinematographer and longtime union leader George Spiro Dibie died on Tuesday. He was 90 years old.
Born in Jerusalem, Dibie spent nearly 50 years working in television, getting his start in the mid-’70s with a job as a lighting consultant on Barney Miller. He went on to shoot more than 60 telefilms and 1,500 hours of primetime sitcoms, ultimately earning 12 Emmy nominations in total. He wound up winning five statues for his work on Mr. Belvedere, Growing Pains, Just the Ten of Us, and Sister, Sister.
Dibie attended Los Angeles City College and the Pasadena Playhouse, where he focused on lighting before graduating in 1959. Several years later, he found himself working on the electrical crew of 1963’s Cleopatra before pivoting into television the following decade. It proved to be a wise career decision, as Dibie eventually received a television career achievement award from the American Society of Cinematographers, as well as a distinguished service award from the Society of Camera Operators in 2008.
In addition to being a gifted cinematographer, Dibie was a union leader for two decades between 1984 and 2004, when he served as President of Local 659 and then National President of Local 600 following their merger.
Dibie’s death was confirmed in a statement from John Lindley, the current President of the International Cinematographers Guild.
“George Dibie was an inimitable force within our local, our craft, the film community, and the labor movement,” wrote Lindley, who noted how difficult it would be to “tally the thousands of lives he touched both at his work on sets and through his leadership of Local 600. Even newer members who may never have met him continue to reap the benefits of his dedication to garnering respect for our craft and our union. His warmth and generosity are and will always be remembered and will guide us into the future. We send our condolences to his family and join them in mourning his loss.”