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William Tynan


1930 - 2016 Obituary Condolences
William Tynan Obituary
November 25, 1930 - May 2, 2016 William "Bill" Tynan, Jr. , age 85, died in his home in North Hollywood, California on May 2, 2016. Born in Los Angeles on November 25, 1930 to William Tynan and Aletha (Fletcher) Tynan, he is survived by his sister Anne Tynan Cross of San Jose, CA, niece Aletha Anne Kornacher of Aptos, CA and nephews -Todd Alan Murray of San Jose, CA and William Scott Murray of Sonoma, CA. Bill was an extravagant storyteller with a rich imagination. His true narrative talent entertained so many friends and family throughout his life. Fiercely independent, Bill was a lifelong adventurer and non-conformist. Unlike most of his contemporaries, who were getting married and having kids he wanted to see the world. He enlisted in the Army after graduating from Alexander Hamilton High School in 1949. He spent the next three years in Europe as part of the 7796 Signal Photo Company where he earned a reputation as a top photojournalist during Eisenhower's post war European time. An army friend - Don Iwerks, son of Walt Disney's partner Ub Iwerks - helped recruit Bill to the camera department at Disney Studios. Subsequently he used his wide-ranging photographic talents at Disney and in many other Hollywood camera departments including MGM, Technicolor and Deluxe. That seemed to many as the beginning of a great career. However, Bill dreamed of a grander adventure and in 1958 he and a companion embarked on a 7 month, 2,500 mile journey on foot from Los Angeles to Mexico City. The more that he was told it was impossible, the more he was determined to do it. Bill documented the journey on film capturing compelling images of the Mexican landscape and the people they met along the way. "The Walk from Los Angeles to Mexico City" was the first of many trips Bill made to the Yucatan and Central America, including the ancient city of Tikal in the Guatemalan rainforest, photographing Mayan hieroglyphs and other artifacts. Bill was honored as a member of the elite Adventurer's Club on January 21, 1960 and carried the Club's flag into the Yucatan on several visits to Mexico. Photographs from Bill's grand adventure to Mexico City were among the few things that survived a total loss fire at his home in the Hollywood Hills on September 9, 2011. At 80 years of age, faced with the devastating loss of nearly all his possessions, Bill responded in his typically energetic and creative fashion. In collaboration with long-time friend and assistant Marianne Brown, he restored most of the photographs from the walk, and created a gallery show that received critical acclaim when presented at several Los Angeles area exhibits from February 2015 through October 2015. We will miss Bill's exuberant spirit and remember fondly the fun we shared with him over countless stories. A celebration of his life is planned for mid-July.
Published in the Los Angeles Times from June 7 to June 9, 2016
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