Fri, 10/04/2013

Remembering Imero Fiorentino

Imero Fiorentino

We're sad to hear of the passing of lighting designer Imero Fiorentino, who died on Tuesday, October 1, 2013 at the age of 85. Fiorentino was one of television's earliest lighting maestros. He lit the first televised appearance of the Bolshoi Ballet, lit all but the first of the 1960 Kennedy-Nixon presidential debates, and was present for the first Telstar satellite broadcast on July 10, 1962. Fiorentino also designed the lighting for World Showcase Pavilions at Disney's Epcot Center. He lost sight in one eye when he was in high school, but didn't let that deter him from pursuing his dream.

Below are some excerpts from his 2006 Archive interview. He had one of the most touching answers we've seen in response to the question of what he wanted his legacy to be:

On losing sight in one eye:

About eight or nine months before I was to graduate so I could go to school, a little tragedy happened. There was an accident and I lost an eye. I was devastated. I was a teenager. My life was ahead of me. I was going to do and learn the thing I've always wanted to do and learn, and now I'm lying in the hospital all bandaged up knowing that I have lost the sight in one eye. I was devastated, and she was there, my [drama] teacher, Florence Druss. She was holding my hand, and I said, "I guess I don't know what I'm going to do now," and she says, "Why not?" I said, "Well, I lost an eye." She said, "Well, who's going to know but us kids?" I said, "Well, I'll know! It's not like I'm going to make shoes or anything. I mean, we're talking light, sight... I mean, to me they're all very integrated and related. And besides, you always said I'd be the best lighting designer ever. How can I do that now?" She said, "Well, we're going to change that. You're going to be the best one-eyed lighting designer ever." I squeezed her hand and I said, "You know, I can do that." And that became a goal and a driving force in my life. Why? Because I couldn't let her down, I couldn't let my parents down, and I couldn't let me down, and all my life that has been there as the, I want to say, wonderful challenge. It wasn't so wonderful, but in retrospect if you put it another way, yes, it was something that happened to me that wasn't so terrific, but in the long run became a very positive influence on my life. And my love of teachers has never left.

On lighting ABC's Tales of Tomorrow:

On lighting all but the first of the Kennedy-Nixon debates:

On how lighting can convey mood:

On his legacy:


Read his obituary in Live Deisign and watch Imero Fiorentino's full Archive interview