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Robin Browne BSC 24.11.1941 - 28.03.2024 

Updated: Apr 4

It is with huge sadness that I am letting you know of the passing of a very dear friend and utterly brilliant colleague, Robin Browne BSC (Honorary Full member). We had an email from Robin’s wife Judy last Thursday 28th March that Robin had finally slipped away, with Judy and their children Debbie and Justin at his bedside in their Bloomfield Hills, Michigan home where they had lived since 1991. Robin had been bravely and resolutely fighting cancer for at least ten years with the help and guidance of wonderful doctors in both Houston and Detroit. Sadly though it took it’s toll and after a brief stay in hospital, he spent his final 10 days at home.

During that 10 years he made every effort to keep in touch with friends and colleagues in the UK and  even when exhausted, managed to come to London and meet up at Operators’ night and simultaneously celebrate his birthday. 

As chronicled in Phil Meheux and James Friend’s wonderful BSC book “Preserving the Vision”, Robin had a fantastic career as a camera assistant, sometimes working with the likes of aerial cameraman Johnny Jordan on projects including “The Battle of Britain” and “Catch 22” (during which tragically Johnny Jordan lost his life). He moved on up into operating and was soon working as a DoP often leading specialist units in aerial and visual effects. ( “A Bridge too Far”,  “Gandhi” “The Sphinx”, and numerous Bond movies). He was perfectly suited for these kinds of jobs as his personality and demeanour elicited incredible loyalty and professionalism from his crews. His calm polite and intelligent manner, immaculate planning ,  development of new equipment and techniques  (Astrovision pressurised camera system with Bob Netmann) and camera / projection stepping motor control units with Ron Bicker, plus engineering of Vistavision cameras and projection equipment with Roy Moores at Merton Park, were all due to his visionary thinking and tenacity. I was fortunate enough to be one of his assistants for the VFX units on “Time Bandits” “Watcher in the Woods” “The Keep” for a year on “Moonraker” and 18 months on “Krull”. Needless to say he taught me a lot! He also photographed many 2nd and splinter units on films such as “Passage to India”, Jewel of the Nile” “Air America” and “Evil under the Sun” plus he helped plan and shoot many complex VFX commercials before the CGI days. 

In 1991 Robin chose to move to Detroit to be near Judy’s ageing parents and thus his career took a slightly different course . He worked on a number of American projects and did a considerable amount of work on car commercials with a Detroit company. As tax incentives etc in Michigan were withdrawn, work became more sporadic so he spent a lot of time and energy developing scripts and projects relating to research about the ciphers hidden in the texts of William Shakespeare, etc. Right up to the last months of his life he was still developing these projects, and hopefuly  one day they will reach the screen. 

Robin leaves his wonderful wife Judy and children Debbie, a very talented photographer and mother of four, and Justin who is a successful Steadicam operator in L.A. Not forgetting Debbie’s husband, Troy.  We send our deepest condolences to them all. May he rest in peace. 

With much love, Jamie Harcourt. 

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