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Photographer and photo agency owner Frank Griffin dies aged 68

Photographer and photo agency owner Frank Griffin – Photo supplied

Sad news reached the PAN office overnight. Frank Griffin the co founder of Los Angeles based celebrity photo agency Bauer-Griffin has died.

We have no other details at this stage but we are in touch with the agency and hope to get a formal announcement soon.

Englishman Frank moved to LA at the end of the 1980’s after a successful early career throughout Europe as a music photographer shooting all the great bands and singers of the 70’s and 80’s. He and business partner Randy Bauer founded celebrity and events photo agency Bauer-Griffin in 1997.

Industry reaction – Frank remembered:

“Heartbroken, totally heartbroken. I was Picture Editor of Hello ! and Frank and I would speak about ten times a day, everyday . He was usually the last person I spoke to at night and the first person in the morning due to the London/LA time difference. When I visited LA frequently for work Frank would let me drive his MGB. An English girl in an English car cruising on Sunset . Fond fond memories.” Sue Neal

 

“Frank was a rival, but a friendly rival, and it was always fun going up against the Bauer-Griffin team, “Frank enjoyed the chase of the big story, and in the old days the chase was usually astride his motorbike weaving in and out of the traffic on the boulevards of Los Angeles.”
“On the long stake-outs and doorsteps, Frank would entertain the younger photographers with wild stories from his checkered past. I remember one snapper doubting the veracity of one his European escapades, just before Frank broke into fluent German to speak to his Swiss business partner. There was a lot more to Frank than he often let on.”
“He took papp’ing very seriously. I recall in his early days in Hollywood on how fast he could hoist his 500mm from dangling by his side to shooting position – like an old-fashioned gunslinger drawing a pistol. He was quick with a hefty lens, and it was amazing to see. “Later he showed me his stake-out vehicle, a Mercedes SUV with blacked-out windows. He held a remote in his hand which controlled the windows, so he could sit inconspicuously for hours, but with the push of a button quickly drop them to shoot some unsuspecting celebrity.”
“More recently, he had become something of a rent-a-quote for the paparazzi industry. It seemed no story on the scurrilous paparazzi was complete without a comment from the brash talking British expat. And Frank rarely disappointed. Frank by name, frank by nature. He told it as it was. No sugar coating.”
 Kevin Smith, founder of Splash News and now The Mega Agency.    

 

“Frank was the paparazzi guru who I had the pleasure of talking to for several hours many many years ago in his LA office about all aspects of the business and I learnt a lot. One thing stood out to me was his expertise and passion with pictures. So Sad to hear the news of Franks passing.”
David Taylor Backgrid.

 

Hi Will,

This is devastating news and has come as a complete shock to me.
Soon after Matrix formed in 1999, we struck up a two way partnership with Bauer Griffin, where we represented them in the UK and they represented us in The States. This lasted until around 2010 when they started selling direct in the UK.
Bauer-Griffin played a vital role in helping to put Matrix onto the world stage with their endless supply of Hollywood exclusives. In particular, their unrivalled coverage of Britney Spears’ breakdown in 2007, when one day she shaved her head and a few days later she was caught getting out of Paris Hilton’s car, legs wide open, minus her underwear.
During that time, especially the earlier years when the industry was turning over vast sums of money for exclusive pictures, we had a great time working together and formed strong friendships. We even arranged a work exchange program, where people from the Matrix office in London would go and work at Bauer-Griffin in LA and Bauer-Griffin people would come to London.
I also enjoyed a few trips to LA to see Frank and he was always keen to drive me around the Hollywood Hills in the latest Range Rover and take me on celeb spotting outings, which usually ended with a nice lunch on Sunset Plaza. Frank loved LA and loved to show it off.
Back in London, around 5pm every day (9am LA time), the office phone would ring, with Frank looking for a daily update on sales. If it had been a good day, I would be happy to take the call and share the good news. Frank would be delighted and would tell me how amazing we were. If it had been a slow day however, I would dread taking the call, only to have Frank bellow down the phone and tell me what a useless bunch of so and so’s we were! That was Frank. When he was pleased with you, he would make sure you knew it. But when he wasn’t, he’d make sure you knew that too!
Frank was a big man with a big heart and I have great memories of the years we worked in partnership together. Frank is a true legend, he will be missed.

Trevor Adams | Matrix Media Ltd
 

I had the privilege of working for Frank Griffin and his business partner Randy Bauer‎ from 2008 until 2015. He was simply the best in the business and Bauer-Griffin became the leading US celebrity photo agency under his leadership. I could listen to his stories all day from leading the press-pack at Live Aid to becoming Prince’s official photographer on tour. A straight-talking Yorkshireman with a good heart. Always willing to help and support others sharing his vast experience and wisdom.
 ‎It was a fantastic and unforgettable few years working for Frank at Bauer-Griffin travelling the world working on the biggest celebrity exclusives. “Make sure you shoot wide so that we can get a double-page spread!” was one of his favourite phrases. He is gone too soon and will be greatly missed. The industry will never see the likes of him again and he will never be forgotten.
Gerallt Radcliffe, former Bauer-Griffin photographer.

 

So sad to hear news of Frank’s passing. When I started The Grosby Group in 1997, no pap agency was working regularly Latin America, so there was a lot of distrust for this unknown market then. I had the hardest time trying to convince paps and agencies that there was a market there. At that time my lucky break was that 3 top guns of the pap industry took a chance on me. One of them was Frank Griffin , and since then, and to this day he was still sending me his production.
Yes, we all had better times and made better money, but in spite of the ups and downs he always stuck with us to rep him in our territories. Though I’ve heard of his outbursts when he wasn’t pleased with you, I was one of the lucky ones that was never on the receiving end of any, and to me, he was always an English gentleman.
I still have the dvd’s of The Hollywood Hunt Club, a great pap documentary series he did for E! many years ago during the heyday of the pap activity in LA and where Bauer-Griffin led the field. I spoke with him less than 2 months ago and though I noticed that he was very hoarse, he didn’t mention that he was suffering from any important health issue. Sad and surprised to learn the news.
My condolences to his son and family. Rest in peace.
Pablo Grosby Director/ The Grosby Group

 

If you would like to share your memory of Frank and any photos please send them directly to me will@photoarchivenews.com
Or use the comments box below.

 

Photographer and photo agency owner Frank Griffin – Photo supplied

 

 

3 comments

  • Heartbroken, totally heartbroken. I was Picture Editor at Hello! and Frank and I would speak about ten times a day, every day……… Sue Neal

  • So sad to hear news of Frank’s passing. When I started The Grosby Group in 1997, no pap agency was working regularly Latin America, so there was a lot of distrust for this unknown market then. I had the hardest time trying to convince paps and agencies that there was a market there. At that time my lucky break was that 3 top guns of the pap industry took a chance on me. One of them was Frank Griffin , and since then, and to this day he was still sending me his production. Yes, we all had better times and made better money, but in spite of the ups and downs he always stuck with us to rep him in our territories. Though I’ve heard of his outbursts when he wasn’t pleased with you, I was one of the lucky ones that was never on the receiving end of any, and to me, he was always an English gentleman. I still have the dvd’s of The Hollywood Hunt Club, a great pap documentary series he did for E! many years ago during the heyday of the pap activity in LA and where Bauer-Griffin led the field. I spoke with him less than 2 months ago and though I noticed that he was very hoarse, he didn’t mention that he was suffering from any important health issue. Sad and surprised to learn the news. My condolences to his son and family. Rest in peace.

  • From 1975 to 1978 I was managing director of Bay City Music, Frank was a constant companion. I remember Sue Neal as well. I moved to LA in ’78 and lost touch with both of them while working with Jerry Weintraub and Milton Okun. Missed both of you.

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