George Spiro Dibie, a television cinematographer whose credits over a 48-year career ranged from “Barney Miller” to “Night Court” to “Sister, Sister,” died Tuesday. He was 90 years old.
Dibie’s death was confirmed by a declaration of the International Filmmakers Guild. Dibie served as President of Local 659 and then National President of Local 600 after the merger, his tenure as union leader lasting from 1984 to 2004.
“Dibie was an inimitable force within our local, our craft, the film community and the labor movement,” reads the statement from current ICG President John Lindley. “In all, Dibie was a union leader for 20 years…but the numbers don’t exactly add up to the thousands of lives he touched both through his work on the sets and through his leadership of Local 600. Even the new members who may never have met him continue to reap the rewards of his dedication to upholding our trade and our union. His warmth and generosity are and will always be remembered and will guide us into the future. We send our condolences to his family and join them in mourning his loss.
Born in Jerusalem, Dibie began working in entertainment after attending Los Angeles City College and the Pasadena Playhouse, where he focused on lighting. Graduated in 1959, he was part of the electrical team of “Cléopâtre” (1963) before climbing the ranks of the production teams.
Dibie’s first major breakthrough as a cinematographer came in 1975, as a lighting consultant on “Barney Miller.” Since then, Dibie has been responsible for over 60 TV movies and over 1,500 hours of prime-time sitcoms, racking up 12 Emmy nominations and five Emmy awards for his work. Dibie’s Emmy wins came for his work on “Mr. Belvedere,” “Growing Pains,” “Just The Ten of Us” and “Sister, Sister.” career in television from the American Society of Cinematographers, as well as a Distinguished Service Award from the Society of Camera Operators in 2008.