Skip To Content

Support the Forward

Funded by readers like you DonateSubscribe
Breaking News

Phil Stern, Photographer to Stars, Dies at 95

Photographer Phil Stern, known for his candid shots of Hollywood stars and jazz musicians, has died.

Stern died Saturday in Los Angeles at the age of 95 after an extended hospital stay.

Stern worked as a combat photographer for the Army newspaper “Stars and Stripes” during World War II, where he served as a U.S. Army Ranger in the North African and Italian campaigns.

He settled in Los Angeles after the war and became a staff photographer for Look magazine. He also worked as one of Life magazine’s top Hollywood photographers.

Among the iconic stars he photographed were Marlon Brando, Marilyn Monroe, Sammy Davis Jr., Judy Garland, James Dean and John Wayne. He also shot album covers including for Louis Armstrong, Ella Fitzgerald, Billie Holiday, and Dizzy Gillespie.

Stern was the son of Russian Jewish immigrants to the United States, and grew up in New York.

Stern did not believe that he or other photographers could be considered artists. “Matisse I ain’t,” he is widely quoted as saying.

His work has been displayed for decades at the Fahey/Klein Gallery in Los Angeles.

Republish This Story

Please read before republishing

We’re happy to make this story available to republish for free, unless it originated with JTA, Haaretz or another publication (as indicated on the article) and as long as you follow our guidelines. You must credit the Forward, retain our pixel and preserve our canonical link in Google search.  See our full guidelines for more information, and this guide for detail about canonical URLs.

To republish, copy the HTML by clicking on the yellow button to the right; it includes our tracking pixel, all paragraph styles and hyperlinks, the author byline and credit to the Forward. It does not include images; to avoid copyright violations, you must add them manually, following our guidelines. Please email us at [email protected], subject line “republish,” with any questions or to let us know what stories you’re picking up.

We don't support Internet Explorer

Please use Chrome, Safari, Firefox, or Edge to view this site.