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The Passing of Doris Waller

This article first appeared in
..in 70mm
The 70mm Newsletter

Written by: Keith Swadkins. Reprinted from Cinerama Society Newsletter no 16 by written permission. Issue 47 - December 1996
Doris Waller and John Harvey in January 1993. Doris was Guest of Honor at the 10th birthday celebrations of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television.

It is with great sadness that I must report the passing, on August 10th 1996, of Mrs Doris Waller, widow of Fred Waller. Those of us who came to know Doris in recent years will remember her as a frail lady with an active mind a bubbling personality which belied her 89 years.

During the late 20s, Doris had been a script girl at Paramounts Astoria Studios, New York, when she first met Fred Waller. Fred was then a special effects cameraman and needed a technical secretary for a project he was working on. Doris had the necessary qualifications and stepped in to type up Fred's notes. However, fate decreed their paths would separate and it was not until 1942 that they married.

Together with Doris son from an earlier marriage, John P Caron, they made their home in Huntington, Long Island, Fred setting up a workshop in the adjacent barn where he developed many of his inventions including the embryonic Cinerama. Joined by his stepson, the development and promotion of Cinerama later moved to an indoor tennis court on a private estate in nearby Oyster Bay.

Further in 70mm reading:

This is Oyster Bay

mr. cinerama

in70mm.com's Cinerama page

Cinerama's 50th Anniversary

Internet link:


Doris Waller with John Harvey and Willem Bouwmeester in her home in Huntington, Long Island, USA.

After Fred's death in 1954, Doris remained in their Huntington house which is where Brenda and I were privileged to first meet her during the fall of 1992. Although by then in her mid 80s and a little frail, Doris made us feel part of the family and entranced us with her memories of Fred and the Cinerama days. By the end of the day, we had all become life-long friends.

In January 1993, Doris was able to travel to Bradford as Guest of Honor at the 10th birthday celebrations of the National Museum of Photography, Film and Television, opening the Pictureville Cinerama installation and attending the re-opening of "This is Cinerama". I remember her sheer delight that Fred's Cinerama had been restored for new generations to enjoy.

With the passing of Doris Waller, we have all lost a major link with the magical great days of Cinerama which affected so many of our lives for ever.
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Updated 21-01-24