Entered film industry as assistant cameraman to Gregg Toland and Joseph Ruttenberg at Universal Pictures
Worked for Universal in Berlin
First film as director of photography, "Strange Holiday/The Day After Tomorrow" (US release 1946)
Received first of 16 career Oscar nominations for Best Cinematography for his black-and-white work on "Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo"
Earned first Academy Award for his superb Technicolor lensing of Africa for "King Solomon's Mines"
Picked up second Oscar (black and white) for Vincente Minnelli's "The Bad and the Beautiful"
Returned to Africa for filming of John Ford's "Mogambo"; also teamed for first time with director John Sturges on "Escape from Fort Bravo"
Used the new Todd-AO widescreen color process filming the Rodgers and Hammerstein musical "Oklahoma!", directed by Fred Zinnemann; earned Oscar nomination
Earned third and final Academy Award for "Ben-Hur" (color); first of three collaborations with director William Wyler
Demonstrated virtuoso lighting of seascapes, particularly at dusk, for Lewis Milestone's "Mutiny on the Bounty" (shot in Technicolor and Panavision 70)
Third and fourth films with Sturges, "The Hallelujah Trail" and "The Satan Bug"; also reteamed with Wyler for "The Collector"
Received Oscar nominations for both "Doctor Dolittle" and "The Graduate"
Last film with Wyler, "The Liberation of L.B. Jones"
Returned triumphantly to black and white filming with Peter Bogdanovich's "The Last Picture Show", receiving Oscar nomination; also nominated that year for his dazzling, diffused Technicolor lensing of Robert Mulligan's "Summer of '42", which may have been overkill for the simple one-note coming-of-age story (certainly the lush look of the film is what people remember best)
Second film with Mulligan, "The Other"
Captured the period of George Roy Hill's "The Sting" with brownish tones
Reteamed with Hill (and actor Robert Redford) for "The Great Waldo Pepper"
16th and final Oscar nomination for the cinematography of Mulligan's "Same Time, Next Year" (Surtees' last film); also shot Mulligan's "Bloodbrothers", released earlier that year