Photographer Henry Grossman

Photographer Henry Grossman with one of his most famous photos of The Beatles.

The New York Times reports that photographer Henry Grossman has passed away. His is death was in late November last year. Grossman started photographing The Beatles when they were performing at the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964, and later photographed them several times, both in the USA and in England, as well as on location during the filming of the film “Help!”.

As a photographer, Henry Grossman was best known for his formal portraits of celebrities and other public figures – but who also had a side career in New York City, as a tenor at the Metropolitan Opera and an actor in bit part on Broadway.

Grossman died on November 27 in Englewood, New Jersey. He died in a hospital several months after sustaining injuries from a fall. Grossman was 86 years old.

Mr. Grossman took portrait photographs of such luminaries as Eleanor Roosevelt, Richard M. Nixon, Elizabeth Taylor, Martha Graham, Leontyne Price, Leonard Bernstein and Nelson Mandela. He photographed new Metropolitan Opera productions for Time magazine and was the official photographer for many Broadway shows.

His portraits of John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson were published on the front page of The New York Times on November 23, 1963, along with the news that the young president had been assassinated in Dallas the day before and succeeded by his vice president.

Henry Maxwell Grossman was born on October 11, 1936 in Manhattan in New York City. His father, an immigrant from Russia, was a famous artist whose works hang in museums. However, his father died when Henry was only 10 years old, and his mother continued to support the family by selling works of art by Henry’s father. After studying anthropology and theater arts in Massachusetts, where he had also photographed visiting famous speakers, he moved back to New York and became a freelance photographer for magazines such as Life, Time, Newsweek and Paris Match, as well as for The Times newspaper.

Henry Grossman was only 27 years old when, in February 1964, he was commissioned by Life magazine to cover The Beatles’ American television debut, on the popular CBS series “The Ed Sullivan Show”.

One of Grossman’s photos from the Ed Sullivan Show, shown here is a print from Rock Paper Photo, where limited edition prints from Grossman could be purchased in 2012.

Grossman photographed the quartet next to a jungle of TV cameras, amplifiers and other obstacles backstage, and he shot from the balcony to capture their effect on the audience. Over the next four years, he took 7,000 photographs of the Beatles. He became good friends with George Harrison on the first US tour of The Beatles later in 1964, which meant that he was counted among the inner circle and had access to the four privately.

Henry Grossman accompanied The Beatles on location, shooting the movie “Help!” in 1965, both in Austria and the Bahamas. In Austria he was witness to the famous gig where Paul and John joined Jacky Spelter’s band.

Thanks to his friendship with George, Grossman was also invited to join the “Dark Horse” US tour in 1974.

In 2008, Grossman published an expensive hardcover book in a limited edition titled “Kaleidoscope Eyes: A Day in the Life of Sgt. Pepper“, which contained photos he had taken at EMI’s studios in Abbey Road while the band were recording “Lucy In The Sky With Diamonds”. Earlier in the day he had photographed them privately at Ringo’s home, Sunny Heights.

In 2012, another book was published, “Places I Remember: My Time with the Beatles,” where no less than 1,000 Beatles photos came to see the light of day.

Henry Grossman is survived by his two children, David and Christine Grossman, both professional musicians, and his sister Suzanne Grossman.

Source: New York Times


4 Responses

  1. Patrick Delforge says:

    I would like to know if Henry Grossman took the famous color photograph of the english 7″ single “Strawberry fields / Penny Lane . Bruce Spizer affirms that in his eminent books: “Beatles for sale on Parlophone ” and “Beatles Story on Capitol “.
    But in France (where I live) it is said that french photographer Jean-Marie Perrier shotted this wonderful picture . What about ?
    Best regards

    • admin says:

      It’s Jean-Marie Perier. He had to set up an improvised photo studio inside the EMI studios building, and wait for the Beatles to become available for the shoot. He used the same effect with the lamps for a photo shoot with a French performer, which angered Lennon and Perier never got the job to photograph them again. The story is here:

      • Roland, LESTOQUOIT says:

        Yes, Jean Marie Périer is very well known in my country, (France) he has taken loads of photographs of the new generation (60’s) musicians, singers, in France, but also those from England an America. His pictures of the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Chuck Berry, James Brown, and many others are amazing. He had the perfect eye, quality to put on stage his subjects that was unmistakable.
        He was one of the main photographers of the very popular french Magazine “Salut les Copains” that every youngster was waiting for every month.
        I was one of them. He has published a few beautiful coffee table books.
        The international rock scene wouldn’t be what it is without his talent. Yes he shot the Penny Lane/ Strawberry fields picture record cover, the first one for the Beatles, and probably not for the Beatles only. Pardon me if I’m wrong.

  1. January 6, 2023

    […] Source: Photographer Henry Grossman – The Daily Beatle […]

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