Biographical Information for Charles L. Barbee

Cinematographer/Director


Barbee graduated from Kern Valley High School, attended Bakersfield College and obtained a Bachelor of Arts Degree, Film & Television Production at San Francisco State University.

He worked with Lee Mendelson Productions for 10 years, co-producing, directing, editing and photographing many live-action, filmed, prime-time network specials and series. Highlights include the George Foster Peabody award-winning NBC series "Hot Dog," Emmy winning CBS special "It’s Been 25 Years Charlie Brown," and two critically acclaimed, reality-based, Flip Wilson/CBS comedy specials, "Travels With Flip" and "More Travels With Flip."

Barbee has worked with Effects Supervisors Douglas Trumbull and John Dykstra on numerous projects. He was a VistaVision and 65mm motion-control cameraman on "Star Trek, The Motion Picture" and he was a Director/Cameraman on 65mm Showscan and other "Ridefilm" projects. He was also a Second Unit and Effects Unit Director of Photography on numerous TV series and Feature Films including "Automan," "The Fall Guy," "Hardcastle & McCormick," "Perfect Strangers," "Gremlins," "The Last Starfighter," "The A Team," "MacGyver," "Family Matters," and more.

Barbee was also the twice Emmy nominated Director of Photography of the popular sitcom, "Night Court."  Since '96 he has worked as the Director of Photography of several independent feature films, the most notable being "Free Enterprise," a comedy starring William Shatner, and also Eric McCormack from TV series "Will and Grace".  In 1999 Barbee shot his first "digital-to-35mm" feature, "Warm Blooded Killers."

In the course of his career, Barbee has also photographed many commercials and documentaries and worked frequently for most of the major network TV magazine shows, including "60 Minutes," "20/20," and "Dateline NBC."

In 2002 & 2003 Barbee taught classes in Cinematography at the American Film Institute in Los Angeles.  In 2005 he retired from the commercial side of the business, moved to California's Southern Sierras and began producing a series of personal "passion" documentary films on various subjects including one on the Old West history of California's Southern Sierras called "Wild West Country".

Barbee is a retired Director member of the Director’s Guild of America, and a retired Director of Photography member of the International Photographers Guild and the Society of Operating Cameramen.