Renowned photographer Steve Starr, a fixture on Chicago's social scene and a man who celebrated old Hollywood, passed away Nov. 12 after collapsing outside the Drake Hotel, according to the Chicago Sun-Times. He was 65.
Starr was planning a party next month to mark 45 years in the business.
Starr also did a lot of work for Windy City Times, covering events such as the annual Chicago House Birdhouse Art Auction and Cocktail Party, among others. Starr's most recent item for the publication was in the Oct. 23 issue, when he covered Rush University Medical Center's women's board hosting the 86th Annual Fashion Show Envision.
He also penned the STARRLIGHT column that profiled stars of old Hollywood such as Maria Montez, Lana Turner, Tyrone Power, Ethel Merman, Debbie Reynolds and many others. He also featured many current stars such as Mario Lopez, Fergie, Fantasia and Lynda Carter.
WCT profiled Starr in December 2010 about his book Starrlight: Glamorous Latin Movie Stars of Early Hollywood. [ www.windycitymediagroup.com/lgbt/Steve-Starr-looks-at-Latin-stars-glamorous-lives/29990.html ] (He was also behind Picture Perfect-Art Deco Photo Frames 1926-1946.)
Talking about his fascination for that time period and glamour influenced his photos, he said, "[T]hey took such time with the angles of the photos and only published the good ones. They only took the best. They took care with different types of photography, and they didn't produce hundreds of pictures of one sitting."
Describing his technique, he said, "Proportions are the whole thing. Someone might be good-looking but you turn their head just a little bit and they look even better. Even if it's just a snapshot, I make everybody look as good as I possibly can. I don't want anyone complaining. And it's really helped me in that field, too. [My subjects] always say, 'That's the best picture of me!' It's easier for me because I am good at proportioning how to get the best. Also, they have fun with me. I don't just walk by and snap them.
Tributes poured in on Facebook as news spread of Starr's death. Ryan Chiaverini of the show Windy City LIVE stated, "Steve was one of the kindest guys I knew...so energetic, funny, friendly, and full of life. Great photographer too!"
Singer/theater actress Heather Moran emailed Windy City Times: "Hearing about Steve's passing makes me want to reach out to all the amazing and talented people that have crossed my path in my musical career, to thank them for sharing some loving space.
"He was always quick with a smile and a compliment. It's not always easy to get the best angle of a big girl like me, but he couldn't wait to run over after the shot was taken, to show me how pretty I looked. I laugh and feel sad all at the same time just thinking of it. He was an ardent supporter of cabaret in this city and while he will be sorely missed; his photos will remain forever."
Windy City Times will update as details come in.