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Wallace Seawell, 90, photographer

Shutterbug snapped portraits of stars, royalty

Wallace Seawell, a photographer who snapped portraits of stars such as Bette Davis, Audrey Hepburn and George Burns during a career spanning more than 60 years, died May 29 in Los Angeles. He was 90.

Born in Atlanta, Seawell originally wanted to become a portrait painter. He was accepted at the Rochester Institute of Technology, where he graduated with honors in 1940. Seawell then became chief set designer and fashion photographer at the Eastman Fashion Studio in New York.

He moved to Los Angeles after World War II when he produced and designed nearly 50 training films for the Army Signal Corps. He also joined the studio of Paul Hesse, a leading West Coast photographer.

Seawell also began working for movie studios and fan magazines, photographing Lucille Ball, Doris Day and other stars.

Seawell’s reputation also helped him shoot portraits of President Lyndon B. Johnson, the duke and duchess of Windsor, and the king and queen of Thailand.

He also took photos for record albums by Johnny Mathis, Diana Ross and Peggy Lee.

Seawell’s subjects enjoyed his work so much that many of them became his friends, said Ron Avery, president of the Motion Picture and Television Photo Archive, which owns Seawell’s photographs.

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