Hector Ramirez, a cameraman known for live events and music and comedy specials who racked up 20 Emmys and scores of other nominations in a career spanning 44 years and 200-plus credits, has died. He was 78. His wife, Alma, posted the news on social media last week.
“Today I lost my husband, partner, friend, hero, protector, handyman and cameraman extraordinaire,” she wrote on January 11. “So many memories to behold in the 47 years of our marriage that my heart is broken and my world so much smaller. He was larger than life, a dad, grandfather, uncle, brother and loved by so many friends. He touched so many lives. He is deeply missed. No more pain baby, rest in peace and go and tell your stories to all the angels in heaven.”
Ramirez won four Emmys for his work on Dancing with the Stars, on which he worked from 2006-13, and also won TV Academy hardware for American Idol, the 1994 Oscars, the 2008 Grammys and specials from Frank Sinatra, Paul Simon, Cher, Sting and Neil Diamond. He also won four Emmys for his work on David Copperfield magic specials in the 1990s.
In all, Ramirez earned 16 Emmy noms for his camerawork on the Oscars between 1994 and 2012 — including 14 years in a row. He landed noms for the Grammys eight times, including six straight from 2007-12. For a while, he held the all-time career record for most Emmy nominations.
Born on August 26, 1944, in Bogotá, Colombia, Ramirez moved to the United States in the mid-’50s and attended the Don Martin School of Radio and Television Arts and Sciences in Hollywood. He earned his first credit on a CBS miniseries in 1978 and began working steadily in 1981.
Other early credits included music specials with the Beach Boys, Debby Boone, Fleetwood Mac and Perry Como and for the US Festival. He also was behind the camera for This Is Spinal Tap, the historic “We Are the World” recording session led by Quincy Jones, The Three Tenors in Concert, the Eagles’ reunion special Hell Freezes Over, several MTV Video Music Awards, many other awards shows and multiple George Carlin stand-up specials.
Ramirez also worked on the classic 1970s Norman Lear sitcoms All in the Family, The Jeffersons and Good Times. In a 2011 interview with the Television Academy Foundation, he said: “Norman Lear came down and he goes, ‘My name is Norman Lear.’ I said, ‘Yes sir, I know.’ And then he said, ‘You did a good job.’ And that’s it. So I figured well, maybe I’m coming back. And I did.”
Most recently, Ramirez worked on the CW’s Whose Line Is It Anyway? from 2016-22.
Subscribe to Deadline Breaking News Alerts and keep your inbox happy.