When it comes to landing that first job out of college, Rex Hardy, '37, is the guy to beat. In the spring of his junior year, he was offered work in Los Angeles taking celebrity photos for a new magazine. His shot of young movie star Robert Taylor ran in the maiden issue of Life. He spent the next three years "hanging around the studios" and meeting some of the biggest names in Hollywood. Joan Crawford was "very cooperative and warm," Hardy recalls, despite her reputation as "a terribly bitchy woman." Jimmy Stewart played the accordion for him. And he caught Bing Crosby and Spencer Tracy at the Santa Anita Racetrack.
Hardy's pioneering use of the hand-held Leica camera and 35-millimeter film contrasted sharply with the carefully controlled portraiture of the time. Some of his most memorable shots from 1936-37, including those pictured here, are on display until December 8 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in Beverly Hills.