Yesterday I received the sad news that good friend and associate Ed George passed away over the weekend. He had just returned from a vigorous bike ride. Ed spent much of his life defying the odds, harnessed to helicopters, climbing mountains, diving to the depths of the ocean in a submersible, filming exotic snakes and big cats, always with great composure and a smile. He was a true professional adventure cinematographer, always at the heart of the action. Ed had a lyrical style of shooting and editing, letting the images and long pans tell the story.
Here is Ed's obituary from the Arizona Daily Sun:
Flagstaff lost a veteran cameraman, videographer, and world traveler on Thursday, February 25, when Ed George, 70, died from an apparent heart attack.
Ed moved to Flagstaff in 1988, and was involved in numerous films about the Grand Canyon, Colorado River trips, and Southwestern wildlife. He most recently worked on “Wrenched,” a film about environmental activist, Edward Abbey, and he had ongoing projects with Lowell Observatory and Flagstaff Symphony Orchestra.
Ed George was born in Santa Monica, Calif., and grew up in eastern Pennsylvania and Florida. He graduated from Rollins College in Winter Park and headed for New York City, where he landed a post-production job on the iconic documentary, “Woodstock.” While earning an MFA in film at Carnegie-Mellon University, he interned at WQED-TV in Pittsburgh, which led to work on a series of acclaimed National Geographic specials. One in particular, “The Voyage of the Hokule’a,” about sailing a replica of a double-hulled Polynesian canoe from Hawaii to Tahiti, kicked off his globetrotting career.
Over the past 40 years, Ed filmed extensively in Central and South America, Australia, India, Vietnam, China and parts of Africa and Europe. He descended to the floor of the Atlantic Ocean in a deep-water submersible. His feature film credits include “Dune,” “A River Runs Through It,” and “Executioner’s Song.”
Ed is survived by three wonderful children: Casey Schmidt (John) of Redway, Calif., Kyle George (Carrie Cooper) of Salt Lake City, Utah, and Penelope Bass of Portland, Ore. His four grandchildren are Chloe, Miles, Ava, and Sebastian. Whenever George wasn’t spinning a filmmaking yarn, he was singing the praises of his family, whom he adored.
A celebration of Ed George’s truly remarkable life will be held on Saturday, March 5, 4-7 p.m., at the Gopher Hole Pub in the basement of the historic Weatherford Hotel in downtown Flagstaff.
Arrangements are being handled by Norvel Owens Mortuary.
A note from Western Wildway Network:
Dear Western Wildway Network Partners and Friends:
If you haven't already heard, then we are the bearers of sad news - our dear friend Ed George died this past Friday in Flagstaff, Arizona, apparently suffering a heart attack shortly after a bike ride. We can all attest that we never met anyone quite like Ed. Diminutive in stature, with blue eyes that sparkled and the ever in motion energy of a hummingbird, Ed was as close to a happy go lucky elf AS we will ever meet. A gifted filmmaker and photographer, explorer of world wildlands and oceans, and connoisseur of all things fine, Ed loved the wild—especially wildlife. And he loved and fiercely supported those of us who have chosen to document its beauty and fight for its survival.
Ed had just completed a beautiful short film with an inspiring community plea for the Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument designation. He was in the final push to finish his film about TrekWest—Born to Rewild. We are joining a band of his film and musician friends, including Lisa Lauf and Kenyon Fields, intent to finish Born to Rewild in his honor, so that it too can be part of his public legacy of speaking for the Wild.
With just enough funding in hand to get him to Mexico, and no guarantees, he set out to meet John Davis in 2013 and began his unwavering commitment to tell the story of reconnecting the Western Wildway and especially all of you, who work along the way in a continental scale community of conservation. He trekked many of those 5,000 miles alongside John, and they became tight as brothers. Many of you know the easy kindness and generosity of his friendship. The film opening, the rough cut, the footage all carry the tender visual beauty of Ed’s world class aesthetic. He would want us to thank you for so generously helping him.
We were just with Ed, bouncing about at the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market in Salt Lake last month, and Kelly spoke with him Thursday morning. Plans were made and things in motion, until they stopped and we were jarringly reminded that each day, each moment is a gift, not to be taken for granted. Ed, we are so sorry to see you move on. We had some serious fun together for sure. You remain a shining example of what it really means to live each day, and you will be ever so much missed,
Kim, Greg, John, Kelly, Crumbo
There is probably no better way to remember Ed than to present some of his work. Following are a few of his many and varied productions:
North Rim Notes, just finished a matter of weeks ago making a strong argument for creation of the Grand Canyon Heritage National Monument.
Rendezvous, an early film by Ed George and Sandy Ostertag, created in Jackson Hole, Wyoming.
A recent interview with Ed:
Editor's Note: More films to come as I am able to access them.