Albert Whitlock was born in London in 1915 and showed an aptitude for art as a youngster. His career in film began as a "fetch and carry fellow" at Islington Film Studios. His humble duties included handing out bags of nails to carpenters, moving lights, building scenery and painting signs.

As a 19-year-old  he had painted signs for several of Hitchcock's early classics, including "The Lady Vanishes" and "The 39 Steps" (1935) ), after first assisting the miniatures expert on the director’s "The Man Who Knew Too Much" (1934).

Eventually he learned to paint scenic backings and made his first few attempts at matte paintings. He joined an the  Rank Org. effects department at 1946 under Les Bowie supervision.

 It was during World War II that Whitlock moved into doing matte work. The first glass shot he received full credit for was a ballroom scene that appeared in The Bad Lord Byron (1951). During these years, Whitlock apprenticed alongside artist Peter Ellenshaw under master  matte painter Walter Percy Day

His big break came with a huge gamble. In 1954, with the hint of a job opening at the Disney studio, he left England for the United States with his family. After an anxious stint as a struggling billboard artist in San Francisco, a Disney offer finally came through and his Hollywood career commenced with his painting the titles for "20,000 Leagues Under the Sea." He quickly graduated to the matte department headed by fellow Englishman Peter Ellenshaw, where he learned how to perfect his craft working on classic Disney live-action releases.
He remained at Disney for seven years, and in addition to working on many films, he was involved in the design of Disneyland, before moving to Universal at 1961.
From his first Universal assignment, Doris Day's "That Touch of Mink," Whitlock became a mainstay at the studio until his retirement in 1985.

His cinematic magic is seen but generally not noticed in more than 500 films and television shows, including The Birds (1963), Tobruk (1967), The Sting (1973), Funny Lady (1975), The Day of the Locust (1975), Bound for Glory (1976) and The Blues Brothers (1980).
Syd Dutton and Bill Taylor, ASC, two of Whitlock's Universal matte department stalwarts, would carry his influence with them when they formed Illusion Arts, a still-vital visual effects shop specializing in matte painting.

Albert Whitlock with one of the paintings he made for the movie "Ghost story" 1981.


Whitlock in front of a paint made for "Dune" 1984.


Al Whitlock painting a devastated city of Los Angeles for  "Earthquake" 1974.

Albert Whitlock:  -Great pictures from the movie  "The Birds", with some matte paintings.

                               - An extensive article about  Whitlocck´s career.

                              -  Written in German page about mattee painting; with some pictures of ILM´s
                                mattes and a nice photo of Whitlock in front of a "Dune" matte painting.

See more samples of his work and full information about him at: The Albert Whitlock Archives.


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