The collection contains photographs, clippings of Engstead’s magazine work, including covers, celebrity profiles, fashion
spreads, and advertisements; correspondence; and a heavily annotated typescript of Engstead’s book "Star Shots." The photograph
series consists of 5,472 items with two dozen film and television productions represented. The biography photographs include
files on nearly 300 individuals photographed by Engstead. Franciene Watkins was in possession of the material in this collection
at the time of her death.
John Engstead (1908-1983) was born in Los Angeles. He became a film and stage enthusiast in his youth, and as a student at
Los Angeles High School he interviewed celebrities for the school newspaper. In August 1926, at age 17, he secured a position
as an office boy in Paramount Studio’s publicity department. While still working as an office boy, he began submitting feature
stories to the department and soon became a full-fledged publicity writer. In 1927 he coordinated his first still-photo shoot,
for Clara Bow. This soon led to a new position as art supervisor, where he managed and coordinated photographers shooting
portrait, scene, and off-camera stills. In 1933 he undertook his first session as a still photographer with Cary Grant during
a studio strike, but soon returned to his role as manager/coordinator of photo shoots at Paramount, a position he maintained
until he left the studio in 1941.
1 linear ft. of papers
8 linear ft. of photos
Property rights to the physical object belong to the Margaret Herrick Library. Researchers are responsible for obtaining all
necessary rights, licenses, or permissions from the appropriate companies or individuals before quoting from or publishing
materials obtained from the library.
Available by appointment only.