Imero Fiorentino

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Imero Fiorentino
Fiorentino imero.jpg
Imero Fiorentino
BornJuly 12, 1928
Brooklyn, New York
DiedOctober 1, 2013(2013-10-01) (aged 85)
Known forLighting designer and consultant, television lighting

Imero (Immie) Fiorentino (July 12, 1928 – October 1, 2013) was an American lighting designer, considered one of the most respected pioneers and leaders in the American entertainment industry. [1] [2] [3] [4] Beginning his career as a lighting designer in the Golden Age of Television, he designed productions for such celebrated series as Omnibus , U.S. Steel Hour , Pulitzer Prize Playhouse and Kraft Television Theatre . [5] Fiorentino's expertise was often called upon by industry professionals throughout the world to consult on the planning and development of major productions, [2] exhibits, museums and architectural projects; [6] from the Republican National Convention and Democratic National Convention and numerous United States presidential election debates, major concert tours and television specials to the environmental lighting for Epcot’s World Showcase at Walt Disney World. [7] His consulting work on major corporate events with clients included: Anheuser-Busch, [8] Michelin, Electrolux, American Express and Xerox.

Lighting designer person responsible for lighting on a stage

A theatre lighting designer works with the director, choreographer, set designer, costume designer, and sound designer to create the lighting, atmosphere, and time of day for the production in response to the text, while keeping in mind issues of visibility, safety, and cost. The LD also works closely with the stage manager or show control programming, if show control systems are used in that production. Outside stage lighting, the job of a Lighting Designer can be much more diverse and they can be found working on rock and pop tours, corporate launches, art installation and on massive celebration spectaculars, for example the Olympic Games opening and closing ceremonies.

Golden Age of Television 1940s and 1950s in American television

The first Golden Age of Television is the era of live television production in the United States, roughly from the late 1940s through the late 1950s. According to The Television Industry: A Historical Dictionary, "the Golden Age opened with Kraft Television Theatre on May 7, 1947, and ended with the last live show in the Playhouse 90 series in 1957;" the Golden Age is universally recognized to have ended by 1960, as the television audience and programming had shifted to less critically acclaimed fare, almost all of it taped or filmed.

The Pulitzer Prize Playhouse is an American television anthology drama series which offered adaptations of Pulitzer Prize winning plays, stories and novels. The distinguished journalist Elmer Davis was the host and narrator of this 1950-52 ABC series.


Early life and education

Fiorentino was born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Sicilian parents Margaret Viola (a doll dress maker who later worked for a real estate agency) and Dominick Fiorentino (an artist who painted the faces on the Dy-Dee Dolls), who met in New York. As a young boy, he enjoyed trips to Radio City Music Hall with his uncle as he became more and more fascinated with theatre, especially lighting and set design. He turned to books to learn everything he could on the art. In junior high school and later at Lafayette High School in Brooklyn, he joined the stage squad and did the lighting and set design for plays. In high school he was encouraged by a wonderful teacher, Florence Druss, who understood immediately his aptitude for lighting design and encouraged him to pursue it as a career and to go on to college. In his junior year, his life’s plan was mapped out for him and he was accepted to Carnegie Tech, now Carnegie Mellon University. One year before graduating, there was a horrible accident and he lost one eye. He knew his great plans were in shambles because without depth perception, he thought it would be impossible to design lighting. However, his teacher and mentor came to the hospital and told him that no one would know he only had one eye, and he “would still be the best lighting designer ever.” The teacher saw the course the young man needed to be on, and convinced him to continue with his plans. With great sacrifice from his family, Fiorentino attended Carnegie Tech majoring in theatre. [9]

Brooklyn Borough in New York City and county in New York state, United States

Brooklyn is the most populous borough of New York City, with an estimated 2,648,771 residents in 2017. Named after the Dutch village of Breukelen, it borders the borough of Queens at the western end of Long Island. Brooklyn has several bridge and tunnel connections to the borough of Manhattan across the East River, and the Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge connects it with Staten Island. Since 1896, Brooklyn has been coterminous with Kings County, the most populous county in the U.S. state of New York and the second-most densely populated county in the United States, after New York County.

Sicily Island in the Mediterranean and region of Italy

Sicily is the largest island in the Mediterranean Sea and one of the 20 regions of Italy. It is one of the five Italian autonomous regions, in Southern Italy along with surrounding minor islands, officially referred to as Regione Siciliana.

Betsy Wetsy was a "drink-and-wet" doll originally issued by the Ideal Toy Company of New York in 1934. It was one of the most popular dolls of its kind in the Post–World War II baby boom era.

After graduation, his plans to teach and design at Indiana State University the following fall were circumvented by the loss of his father and he undertook the new role as breadwinner for his family. He made the rounds at NBC, DuMont and ABC looking for immediate employment. When interviewed for a position with ABC, Fiorentino admitted he knew nothing about television lighting to which the interviewer replied, “So what? Nobody does.” Television was a new medium in 1950 and everything was a learning curve. Fiorentino recalls, “The man called back later and said, ‘I can hire you as a lighting director for television.’ I said, ‘Who's going to teach me?’ He said, ‘Nobody's going to teach you.’ I said, ‘Well, how will I know if it's right?’ He said, ‘If it looks good, remember how you did it.’ I started the next day.” [9]

Indiana State University Public university in Terre Haute, Indiana, United States

Indiana State University (ISU) is a public university in Terre Haute, Indiana. It was founded in 1865 and offers over 100 undergraduate majors and more than 75 graduate and professional programs. Indiana State is classified by the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education as a Doctoral/Research University.

NBC American television and radio network

The National Broadcasting Company (NBC) is an American English-language commercial terrestrial television network that is a flagship property of NBCUniversal, a subsidiary of Comcast. The network is headquartered at 30 Rockefeller Plaza in New York City, with additional major offices near Los Angeles, Chicago and Philadelphia. The network is one of the Big Three television networks. NBC is sometimes referred to as the "Peacock Network", in reference to its stylized peacock logo, introduced in 1956 to promote the company's innovations in early color broadcasting. It became the network's official emblem in 1979.

DuMont Television Network Former American television network

The DuMont Television Network was one of the world's pioneer commercial television networks, rivalling NBC and CBS for the distinction of being first overall in the United States. It was owned by DuMont Laboratories, a television equipment and set manufacturer, and began operation on August 15, 1946.


ABC Lighting Designer

Fiorentino’s lighting career began during the “Golden Age” of television, when his TV credits included Omnibus, U.S. Steel Hour, The Voice of Firestone, Pulitzer Prize Playhouse, and the Bolshoi Ballet’s first televised appearance in the U.S. [10] Broadcasts were still in black and white. There was no videotape or retakes. Everything was done “live.” Early television images required an intense amount of light in order for transmission of an image to appear on the screen and often employed banks of fluorescent lights. Coming from a theatre background, however, Fiorentino stayed away from the fluorescents and selected lighting instruments that would give a more modeled effect. Word got around quickly that his technique was artistic and directors began requesting his services. Fiorentino worked with such directors in those early years of television as Sidney Lumet, John Frankenheimer, Charles Dubin and Alex Segal. Lighting directors that worked on those early television programs invented lighting techniques as they went. For ten years Fiorentino worked as an ABC lighting designer as one of a small circle of lighting pioneers at other networks including Bob Barry and Greg Harney.

Bolshoi Ballet ballet company in Moscow, Russia

The Bolshoi Ballet is an internationally renowned classical ballet company, based at the Bolshoi Theatre in Moscow, Russia. Founded in 1776, the Bolshoi is among the world's oldest ballet companies. It only achieved worldwide acclaim, however, in the early 20th century when Moscow became the capital of Soviet Russia. Along with the Mariinsky Ballet in Saint Petersburg, the Bolshoi is recognised as one of the foremost ballet companies in the world.

Videotape medium for recording video

Videotape is magnetic tape used for storing video and usually sound in addition. Information stored can be in the form of either an analog signal or digital signal. Videotape is used in both video tape recorders (VTRs) or, more commonly, videocassette recorders (VCRs) and camcorders. Videotapes are also used for storing scientific or medical data, such as the data produced by an electrocardiogram.

Broadcasting distribution of audio and video content to a dispersed audience via any audio or visual mass communications medium

Broadcasting is the distribution of audio or video content to a dispersed audience via any electronic mass communications medium, but typically one using the electromagnetic spectrum, in a one-to-many model. Broadcasting began with AM radio, which came into popular use around 1920 with the spread of vacuum tube radio transmitters and receivers. Before this, all forms of electronic communication were one-to-one, with the message intended for a single recipient. The term broadcasting evolved from its use as the agricultural method of sowing seeds in a field by casting them broadly about. It was later adopted for describing the widespread distribution of information by printed materials or by telegraph. Examples applying it to "one-to-many" radio transmissions of an individual station to multiple listeners appeared as early as 1898.

Imero Fiorentino Associates

In 1960 Immie left ABC to form Imero Fiorentino Associates (IFA.) As the television industry expanded, Fiorentino foresaw the need of independent production companies producing much of the networks' content and their need for experienced lighting designers. Before long IFA became the go-to company for freelance lighting designers. Lighting designers from various networks came to work at IFA such as Fred McKinnon, George Reisenberger, Ken Palius, Leard Davis, William Knight, William Klages, Greg Brunton, Carl Vitelli, Richard Weiss, Carl Gibson, Stig Edgren, Tony DiGirolamo, Alan Adelman, Robert Dickinson, Vince Cilurzo, Jim Tetlow, Marilyn Lowey, John Conti, Jeff Calderon, and Jeff Engle. Over time the business expanded to provide both lighting and set design, production, staging and technical supervision for television and live events; everything from Broadway productions to political conventions, educational seminars to architectural lighting consultation. [11]

William James Tetlow, is a theatre consultant, television and theatrical lighting designer based in San Diego, California. He has been the recipient of an Emmy Award, won in 1990 for Sesame Street, and two other nominations. He has been referred to as the guru of entertainment systems design for his work on over 55 ships for various brands of the Carnival Corporation cruise ship fleet.

Broadway theatre class of professional theater presented in New York City, New York, USA

Broadway theatre, also known simply as Broadway, refers to the theatrical performances presented in the 41 professional theatres, each with 500 or more seats located in the Theater District and Lincoln Center along Broadway, in Midtown Manhattan, New York City. Along with London's West End theatre, Broadway theatre is widely considered to represent the highest level of commercial theatre in the English-speaking world.

Architectural lighting design

Architectural lighting design is a field within architecture, interior design and electrical engineering that is concerned with the design of lighting systems, including natural light, electric light, or both, to serve human needs.

Fiorentino actively participated in the artistic as well as company management, leadership and direction and took great pride in helping to guide the many unique projects that came through their doors.

Fiorentino's creativity was evidenced by his participation as leader of the IFA team serving as design and lighting consultants for fourteen Democratic and Republican National Conventions.

He led the team that designed the environmental lighting for the World Showcase Pavilions at Walt Disney World's Epcot in Orlando, Florida; the exhibition lighting and staging of the famous Howard Hughes Flying Boat "Spruce Goose" aircraft in Long Beach, CA.; Neil Diamond international concert tours and television specials for which he received two Emmy Award nominations; he also lit the legendary industrial show extravaganza (the granddaddy of corporate theater), The Milliken Breakfast Show for 21 years.

Walt Disney World Entertainment complex in Florida, United States

The Walt Disney World Resort, also called Walt Disney World and Disney World, is an entertainment complex in Bay Lake and Lake Buena Vista, Florida, in the United States, near the cities Orlando and Kissimmee. Opened on October 1, 1971, the resort is owned and operated by Disney Parks, Experiences and Products, a division of The Walt Disney Company. It was first operated by Walt Disney World Company. The property, which covers nearly 25,000 acres, only half of which has been used, comprises four theme parks, two water parks, twenty-seven themed resort hotels, nine non-Disney hotels, several golf courses, a camping resort, and other entertainment venues, including the outdoor shopping center Disney Springs.

Epcot Second of four theme parks built at Walt Disney World

Epcot is a theme park at the Walt Disney World Resort in Bay Lake, Florida. It is owned and operated by The Walt Disney Company through its Parks, Experiences and Products division. Inspired by an unrealized concept developed by Walt Disney, the park opened on October 1, 1982, as EPCOT Center, and was the second of four theme parks built at Walt Disney World, after the Magic Kingdom. Spanning 305 acres (123 ha), more than twice the size of the Magic Kingdom park, Epcot is dedicated to the celebration of human achievement, namely technological innovation and international culture, and is often referred to as a "permanent world's fair".

Orlando, Florida City in Central Florida

Orlando is a city in the U.S. state of Florida and the county seat of Orange County. Located in Central Florida, it is the center of the Orlando metropolitan area, which had a population of 2,509,831, according to U.S. Census Bureau figures released in July 2017. These figures make it the 23rd-largest metropolitan area in the United States, the sixth-largest metropolitan area in the Southern United States, and the third-largest metropolitan area in Florida. As of 2015, Orlando had an estimated city-proper population of 280,257, making it the 73rd-largest city in the United States, the fourth-largest city in Florida, and the state's largest inland city.

Fiorentino was also responsible for spearheading IFA's role as designers and consultants for many large television facilities around the country. He headed the IFA team that redesigned the lighting during the 1991 renovation of Madison Square Garden and designed the WaMu Theater housed in the Garden.

Additionally, his credits include: Frank Sinatra - The Main Event, televised live from Madison Square Garden, El Cordobes: The Bullfight of the Century, transmitted live from Spain to 28 countries via satellite, the historic mass audience rock concert event, California Jam and the Broadway show, The Night That Made America Famous . He has served as consultant to every U.S. President since Dwight D. Eisenhower, [10] and to a multitude of major political candidates in television appearances and campaigns, as well as numerous Presidential Debates. He was hired to do the television lighting the day after the first Kennedy-Nixon debate where Nixon looked awful as the bright studio lighting exaggerated his jowls and sunken eyes. He lit the first-ever pictures that were transmitted to outer space and back to Earth via “Telstar 1” in 1962. [10] Fiorentino and William Knight were the lighting designers for the historic Barbra Streisand - A Happening in Central Park, Sept. 16, 1968.


In 1996, Caribiner International acquired IFA and Imero Fiorentino joined the global communications company as Senior Vice President. Caribiner was subsequently acquired by Jack Morton Worldwide where he continued in the same capacity. During the 2000 and 2008 political conventions, Fiorentino was the overall lighting designer for the Fox News coverage. [12] In 2002, he entered the latest phase of his career as an independent lighting and production consultant. [ citation needed ]


Fiorentino was married to Carole Hamer from 1953 to 1963 and they had one daughter, Linda. He married Angela Linsell, an artist, in 1970. His daughter Linda, a minister, is married to Ken Crabbs. They have a son, Christian Imero Fiorentino Crabbs.


He died in New York City on October 1, 2013. [13]


At the time of his death, Fiorentino had been working on his memoir. His wife, Angela, completed it and Let There Be Light, An Illuminating Life, was published in 2017.


Awards and recognitions


  1. Media Marvels for Hire, "New York Magazine," April 19, 1976, John Mariani
  2. 1 2 "Silver Circle Awards 1992 Inductees". 1992. Retrieved 4 November 2008. Cached version.
  3. "Q&A: Imero Fiorentino, independent Lighting Designer." August 22, 2006. Retrieved on 4 December 2008.
  4. Management, Imero Fiorentino, "On Location," March/April, 1978
  5. Kraft Television Theater-Credited as Lighting Director for unknown episodes
  6. Vogel, David B (20 April 2007). "Are Schools Adequately Training Technical Directors for Professional Careers? Archived 2008-08-30 at the Wayback Machine " USITT. Retrieved on 4 December 2008.
  7. Lampert-Gréaux, Ellen (11 June 2002). "Imero Fiorentino, James C. Fuller, and John McGraw, 2002 Wally Nominees." LiveDesign Online. Retrieved on 4 December 2008.
  8. Command Performance: Producing an Affair for Blacktie and Beer, "Video Systems," April, 1979, Suzanne Mead
  9. 1 2 Spiller, Marshall (1 November 2002). "History Project: Imero Fiorentino." LiveDesign Online. Retrieved on 4 December 2008.
  10. 1 2 3 "Great Masters Series: Award-Winning Lighting Designer Imero Fiorentino," New York Women in Film. 15 April 2005. Retrieved on 4 December 2008.
  11. Fiorentino Keeps His Designs Simple, "Record World," September 15, 1979, Joseph Ianello
  12. Steinberg, David (9 October 2008). "Scharff Weisberg Supports The Wolf Productions With Lighting Packages For Democratic And Republican National Convention Coverage By Fox News." The Briefing Room. Retrieved on 4 December 2008.
  13. "Imero Fiorentino Passes Away". 2013-10-03. Retrieved 2013-10-10.
  14. Ellen Lampert-Gréaux (2012-10-14). "2012 Wally Awards Announced | News content from Live Design Magazine". Retrieved 2013-10-10.
  15. "USITT Award Archived 2008-12-02 at the Wayback Machine ." United States Institute for Theatre Technology . Retrieved on 4 December 2008.

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