This director of photography entered the film industry right out of school, signing up with Paramount in 1924 and staying with that studio until 1969 (probably a record for longevity with one studio). Griggs worked in the studio's process department, first as an assistant photographer (on such features as Henry Hathaway's "Spawn of the North" 1938, Mitchell Leisen's "To Each His Own" 1946 and John Farrow's "Easy Come, Easy Go" 1947) before moving up to second unit photographer ("Tripoli" 1950) and camera process photographer (George Stevens' "A Place in the Sun" 1951). In 1951, he was hired by Lewis R Foster as director of photography on three films: the gangster feature "Crosswinds," and the Westerns "Passage West" and "The Last Outpost": Griggs specialized in that genre, shooting eleven in all. His other films ranged from crime dramas to musicals to period epics.
Griggs won an Oscar for George Stevens' classically understated western "Shane" (1953), and went on to shoot more than a dozen high-budget films in that decade. "Elephant Walk" (1954) had both lush scenery and Elizabeth Taylor to highlight. Grigg's first musical was the Bing Crosby/Fred Astaire starrer "White Christmas" (1954). "The Bridges at Toko-Ri" (1955) was a sprawling war film. One of Grigg's most challenging assignments was "The Ten Commandments (1956). He was selected because he was the most experienced director of VistaVision photography at Paramount. Director Cecil B DeMille was exacting and unforgiving in his requirements, and this was certainly the largest, most expensive biblical epic of the decade. For his efforts, Griggs won the second of his four Oscar nominations.
Griggs worked steadily through the 1960s, on such ventures as the 1962 Elvis Presley comedy "Girls! Girls! Girls!," Otto Preminger's "In Harm's Way" and Stevens' biblical epic "The Greatest Story Ever Told" (both 1965; Griggs earned Oscar nominations for both features). He reteamed with Preminger for the Southern drama "Hurry, Sundown" (1967) and he was second unit photographer for Joshua Logan's musical "Paint Your Wagon" (1969). The remainder of his films--most for Paramount, some on loan-out--were largely forgettable fare such as "The Jayhawkers" (1959), "Visit to a Small Planet" (1960), "Papa's Delicate Condition" (1963), "Night of the Grizzly" (1966) and "... tick ... tick ... tick" (1970). Griggs' swan song was the appalling Bette Davis/Ernest Borgnine comedy "Bunny O'Hare" (1971).
Cinematography (Feature Film)
Visual Effects (Feature Film)
Joined Paramount Studios; worked in processing department
First photography credit, "Crosswinds"
Won Oscar for "Shane"
First non-Paramount film, a loan-out to Disney for "Tonka"
Last film, "Bunny O'Hare"