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Hollywood loses film lab executive Jerry Virnig

December 26, 2012|By Richard Verrier
  • Jerry Virnig, former president of independent film lab CFI, died last week.
Jerry Virnig, former president of independent film lab CFI, died last week. (Dana Ross )

Jerry Virnig, a respected veteran of the Hollywood post-production community, died last week from natural causes, a spokesman for his family said. Virnig, a resident of Camarillo, in Ventura County, was 80.

Virnig was a former president of independent film lab CFI, which he joined in 1966 after graduating from USC with a degree in business. He rose through the ranks of CFI, becoming the laboratory's first liaison to production companies filming on location and later sales manager and vice president of sales and marketing. He succeeded Tom Ellington as president of CFI in 1992, serving in that position until he retired five years later.

Virnig was known as a friend and supporter of cinematographers, directors and producers of independent films, continuing a tradition established by CFI executive and visionary Sid Solow.

"Jerry was a throwback to the days when film labs had the ability to support independent filmmakers, even when they didn't have the budgets to realize their dreams,'' said Bob Beitcher, a friend of Virnig and his successor at CFI, which was acquired by Technicolor. Beitcher is currently chief executive of the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

During Virnig's tenure, CFI became a key player in Hollywood laboratory circles, offering a broad range of post-production services, including titles, optics and processing and developing large format film. Clients included Sony Pictures, Sony TV, Warner Bros. TV, Paramount Pictures, Universal TV, Imax and legendary TV producer Stephen J. Cannell.

After his retirement, Virnig taught a course on filmmaking at Columbia College Hollywood and was instrumental in founding the Worldwide Motion Picture Laboratory Assn., a consortium of leading independent international film labs dedicated to sharing technical information and providing an alternative to the industry's two leading players, Deluxe and Technicolor. In 2002, Technicolor North Hollywood honored Virnig by naming one of its screening rooms after him.

He is survived by wife Charlene, children Lynn, Jeff and Mike, and grandson Connor. The family requests that donations in his honor be made to the American Heart Assn., American Cancer Society and the Palliative Care Program of the Motion Picture and Television Fund.

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