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July 28, 2008

Bud Browne

Alumnus Made Surf Film History

Bud Browne, USC film school alumnus and surfing movie director, died July 25 at age 96. The creator of seminal surf films such as Gun Ho!, Going Surfin’ , and Cat on a Hot Foam Board, Browne was renowned for both his athletic prowess in the water and his filmmaking skills, which brought surfing to the movie-going public.

A former captain of the USC swim team, and a lifeguard at Venice Beach, Browne acquired an 8mm movie camera in 1938 and began shooting film of his fellow surfers. Upgrading to 16mm in 1947, Browne shot for several more years, attending film school at USC in the meantime, and debuted his first film, Hawaiian Surfing Movies in Santa Monica in 1953.

Browne, who went on to shoot for Greg MacGillivray and Jim Freeman’s surf film Five Summer Stories and was part of the team that filmed the surf sequences for fellow Trojan John Milius’ 1978 feature film, Big Wednesday.

Browne was inducted into the International Surfing Hall of Fame in 1991, and the Huntington Beach Surfing Walk of Fame in 1996.