His subjects were the faces of Hollywood. His photographs and picture stories were as legendary as the famed celebrities that he captured on film for nearly half a century. Often described as amusing and yet sentimental, his photographs provided an artist’s personal and intimate look at the people who made Hollywood.
Once referred to as “the Will Rogers of photography,” Gene’s homespun humor and quick-draw shooting style caught even the most celebrated stars in whimsical and often out-of-character situations. Within the 45-year span of his career in Hollywood, he created images that became trademark visions and spoke as witnesses to an unforgettable era. Gene’s professional longevity was attributed to his life-long passion for photography. From his days as a Boy Scout to his stint with the Air Force, his growing skills led to a degree from Woodbury College. His early career was marked by apprenticeships, teaching at Pierce College and co-producing some 22 educational films. Widely recognized, Trindl’s work has been published in LIFE, The Saturday Evening Post, and Colliers. The largest body of his work has graced over 200 covers and more than 600 assignments for TV Guide, which was one of the most prolific collaborations of his career.
Trindl’s roster of subjects over the years reads like a “who’s who” of the true famed era of Hollywood. With notables such as Frank Sinatra, Louis Armstrong, Doris Day, Rock Hudson, Jack Benny, George Burns, Alfred Hitchcock, Orson Welles, Raymond Burr, Red Skelton, Henry Fonda, Ernest Borgnine, and Fred Astaire sharing the pages with faces that include Jane Fonda, Tom Selleck, Natalie Wood, Robert Wagner, the cast of Star Trek, Richard Chamberlain, and Mary Tyler Moore… the list speaks for itself.
As a master of studio lighting and darkroom magic, his gallery work was worthy of exhibition alongside the finest photographic work of his day. Mptv Images currently represents his work around the world, and his life as a photographer has been documented by the Photographic Guild International. In addition to countless awards and honors throughout his career, Gene was most proud of his coveted C.H. Bach Award in honor of the man who inspired him to pursue his talent.
“How can I retire from doing something that I’ve never considered work? Both my trade and art has always been nothing more to me than a true labor of love,” he often replied to the question of retirement. Obviously, retirement was not an option for Gene Trindl. His phone still rang as movie studios, TV networks, and public relations firms continued to request his services and talent. “I’ve got well over 90,000 slide images and tens-of-thousands of film negative images in my files,” he stated on the size of his archives. His photo credits were well represented in major publications throughout the world. His contemporary photography was valued as much as his archival collection and his experiences from decades in the entertainment world.
Gene stayed in the town where he was born and raised: Hollywood. When he wasn’t on assignment, he frequented Colorado Springs where he collaborated with his daughter, Joani. The two worked together on a book that was both a collection of his work and a reflection on his life. Aside from photography, Gene’s other passions and interests included gardening, making bread, reading, drinking good wine, and spending time with friends… his formula for his youthful vibrancy.
See all photos by Gene Trindl