Irving Saraf, Oscar-winning Glen Park filmmaker, dies

Irving Saraf dies – Oscar-winning filmmaker

Nellie Bowles
Updated 1:05 pm, Wednesday, January 9, 2013
Irving Saraf, a renowned figure in the Bay Area filmmaking community who won an Academy Award in 1991 for his documentary on the San Francisco Opera Chorus, died Dec. 26 after battling Lou Gehrig‘s disease for three years. He was 80.

Mr. Saraf and his wife, Allie Light, worked together from their home in Glen Park, creating socially minded documentaries and TV series, including “In the Shadow of the Stars,” which won the Oscar, and “Dialogues With Madwomen,” which won an Emmy. He helped found KQED’s special projects department and Fantasy Films, the company behind the Oscar-winning film “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest.”

“Our films didn’t make us a lot of money, but they took us all over the world,” says Light. “Irving lived for stories and characters. He was always trying to find the truth, always trying to show the people we don’t always see.”

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A Glen Park angle:

Irv and Allie helped with a fund-raiser around 2005 for furnishings for the new Glen Park Library. They showed the Oscar-winning “In the Shadow of the Stars” at Lick-Wilmerding High School. Some of the opera chorus singers also attended, and Irv and Allie brought the Oscar and people got to be photographed holding it.


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