George Allen Aarons was born in Manhattan in October 1916.
He joined the army in 1935 at the age of 18 and became the official photographer of the Army Academy of West Point. He took pictures from the front in Africa and Italy and fell in love with the Mediterranean Sea, where we would often return to use its light for his shoots. He came back wounded and was honored with a Purple Heart.
He moved to Beverly Hills and became the high society’s official photographer, takings pictures of politicians and show celebrities and getting their portraits in prestigious magazines amongst which Vogue, Life and Travel and Leisure.
He opened a bureau for Life magazine in Rome, where he vowed to make a career out of photographing beautiful people, doing it his own way with natural surroundings, little makeup and no artificial light. There he took portraits of Fellini, Antonioni, Mastroianni, Sofia Loren and Claudia Cardinale.
Later on, He also shot (amongst others) the 10th Duke of Marlborough and his wife Mary, the Hearst family, Babe Paley, Gloria Guinness and most famously C. Z. Guest, Man Ray, Joan Collins, Mick Jagger and Marianne Faithfull.
”Attractive people doing attractive things in attractive places” was his mantra.
In 1951 he married a young Life employee, Lorita Dewart.
His most celebrated image was shot on New Year’s Eve of 1957 in the Crown Room at Romanoff’s restaurant in Hollywood. Called ”The Kings of Hollywood,” it showed Clark Gable, Van Heflin, Gary Cooper and Jimmy Stewart
”I knew everyone,” he said in an interview with The Independent in 2002. ”They would invite me to one of their parties because they knew I wouldn’t hurt them. I was one of them.”
In 1974 he published the albums “A Wonderful Time: An Intimate Portrait of the Good Life”, “Once Upon a Time in 2003” and finally “A Place in the Sun” in 2005.
He died in May 2006 of complications of a heart attack and a stroke in Montrose, N.Y.