Ormond Gigli was born in New York City in 1925. He became famous early on during the 1950s for his photographs of theatre, celebrities, dance, and exotic persons and places. His work appeared prominently on covers and editorial pages of LIFE, Time, Paris Match, Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, and other major international publications. Gigli's groundbreaking portraits include a young Sophia Loren, Anita Ekberg, Marcel Duchamp, John F. Kennedy, Halston, Gina Lollobrigida, Diana Vreeland, Giancarlo Giannini, Marlene Dietrich, Judy Garland, Sir Laurence Olivier, Alan Bates, Richard Burton, and many more. Most of these images have not been widely seen since they first appeared over four decades ago.
Gigli worked more like a film director than a photojournalist. His ability to earn his subjects' trust in his vision - often during complicated, uncomfortable, even dangerous setups - was as important to the photos as his technical finesse with the camera. His disarming way with his subjects is evident in the revealing anecdotes of the people and times he so vividly recalls. He was welcomed backstage on Broadway as readily as he was in the private lives of celebrities. Some of Gigli's favorite photographs were self-assigned, such as the international award-winner, "Girls in the Windows" shot in 1960. During the 70s and 80s, Gigli turned to advertising while continuing his editorial work. His assignments took him around the world several times, and his photographs are displayed ubiquitously in prominent galleries.