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In Memoriam: James L. Moody

James L. Moody

Lighting&Sound America has learned of the death of lighting designer James L. Moody.

A giant in the field of entertainment lighting, and a mentor and educator who had an incalculable influence on several generations of designers, Moody was a pioneer of concert lighting design, working throughout the 1970s and '80s with such artists as Stevie Wonder, The Supremes, Rod Stewart, Frank Zappa, Barry White, Linda Ronstadt, John Denver, Andy Gibb, Smokey Robinson, Donny and Marie Osmond, The Beach Boys, The Eagles, David Bowie, and many others.

Moody also worked extensively in theatre and corporate lighting design around the US and internationally. Certified as a director of photography with IATSE Local 600 in Hollywood, he had long associations with the series Don Kirchner's Rock Concert, Entertainment Tonight, Jeopardy!, Hard Copy, and Wheel of Fortune, resulting in 6,000 hours of television programming and over 60 infomercials and direct-to-tape projects. He was a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Science and served on its technical production committee; in addition, he received two Emmy nominations. He was also recognized by The American Society of Lighting Directors, Los Angeles Drama Critics Award, and other organizations. A lighting director in Las Vegas for several years, he was named Las Vegas Designer of the Year in 1982.

Moody wrote Concert Lighting: Techniques, Art, and Business, long considered a standard work on the topic. Other books included The Business of Theatrical Design, and Lighting for Televised Live Events: Making Your Live Production Look Great for the Eye and the Camera, the latter of which was done in collaboration with Jeff Ravitz, his onetime partner in the design firm Moody/Ravitz Lighting. He also contributed to Lighting&Sound America.

Prior to his retirement, Moody was head of the technical theatre program, technical director, and lighting designer for The Theatre Academy at Los Angeles City College; he also served many years on the faculty at the California Institute of the Arts. A Fellow of USITT -- in 2003, he received the Joel E. Rubin Founders Award for outstanding contributions to the institute -- he lectured and held master classes at California State University; San Diego State University, Cal Arts, University of Colorado; Southern Illinois University; University of Minnesota; Carnegie Mellon University, and Hong Kong Academy for Performing Arts. He received his MFA in lighting design from UCLA in 1969.

Lighting&Sound America will have a more detailed story in the March issue.

(23 February 2023)

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