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Herbert Ritts Jr., known within the entertainment circle simply as Herb Ritts was an American photographer and video director known particularly for his monochrome images.
He left his birthplace of LA to study art history and economics at Bard College in New York. He went back to Los Angeles after graduation to continue the family’s furniture business.
However, fame came for him in the late 70s when he took a picture of his friend, Richard Gere by an old Buick in a desert.
In 1981, he shot Brooke Shields for the cover photo for Elle.
Best Known For
His 25-year old career saw him photographed celebrities and dignitaries such as Dalai Lama and Kofi Annan.
He authored 6 books including Duo in 1991 and took shots of Maasai tribe for Africa in 1994.
He directed several TV adverts and music videos, most famously Madonna’s Cherish in 1989, Janet Jackson’s Love Will Never Do in 1990 and Chris Isaak’s Wicked Game in 1991.
He was openly gay and up until his demise, was with entertainment lawyer Erik Hyman who was his partner for 6.5 years.
His father, Herbert Sr is late but he is survived by his mother Shirley, and siblings Rory Ritts, Christy Thrasher and another unnamed one.
He did not have any children.
He was born into a family of Jewish beliefs but there is no indication of his commitment to religion.
Worth To Know
After being diagnosed with AIDS, he became an awareness advocate.
He helped launch Elizabeth Taylor AIDS Foundation with $1 million and a board member of Elton John AIDS Foundation.
He died of complications resulting from pneumonic infection.