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Steve Starr, well-known Chicago photographer, dies at age 65

Chicago photographer Steve Starr died Monday 65.

Chicago photographer Steve Starr died Monday at 65.

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Updated: December 14, 2012 6:29AM



A well-known photographer who chronicled Chicago’s social scene through his camera lens died Monday after collapsing on the sidewalk outside the Drake hotel.

Steve Starr, 65, who photographed everything from fashion shows to charity events and private Gold Coast parties, was a fixture on the social circuit.

He fell ill outside the Drake.

“He just said, ‘I’m not feeling well’ and passed out on the sidewalk, and he couldn’t be revived,” said friend Sheryl Dyer, who accompanied Starr to the hospital.

He was pronounced dead at 4:29 p.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Steve’s pictures are worth a million words,” said friend and fashion show producer Tracey Tarantino.

“He’d take your picture and immediately call you over to show you how good you look,” Tarantino said.

“He just had so much energy and passion. He’d say, ‘Look! Look! Look! It’s good!’ and then explain why you looked good to him,” Tarantino added. “He made you feel like for that minute you were making the camera magic. And his excitement showed in his subjects.”

A well-known photographer who chronicled Chicago’s social scene through his camera lens died Monday after collapsing on the sidewalk outside the Drake hotel.

Steve Starr, 65, who photographed everything from fashion shows to charity events and private Gold Coast parties, was a fixture on the social circuit.

He fell ill shortly after lunching with friends at the Drake.

“He just said, ‘I’m not feeling well’ and passed out on the sidewalk, and he couldn’t be revived,” said friend Sheryl Dyer, who accompanied Starr to the hospital.

He was pronounced dead at 4:29 p.m. at Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Steve’s pictures are worth a million words,” said friend and fashion show producer Tracey Tarantino.

“He’d take your picture and immediately call you over to show you how good you look,” Tarantino said.

“He just had so much energy and passion. He’d say, ‘Look! Look! Look! It’s good!’ and then explain why you looked good to him,” Tarantino added. “He made you feel like for that minute you were making the camera magic. And his excitement showed in his subjects.”

In addition to publishing two books, Starr photographed hundreds of celebrities including Beyonce Knowles, Debra Messing, Janet Jackson, Mario Lopez, Dionne Warwick, Jim Belushi, Mickey Rooney, Robert Davi, Tony Curtis, Jamie Foxx, Victor Skrebneski, Ernie Banks, Fergie, Rita Moreno, Richard Dent and, Princess Yasmin Aga Khan.

His work also numerous online and print publications, such as Michigan Avenue magazine.

Mr. Starr was planning a party for Dec. 12 to celebrate his 45th year in the business, Tarantino said.

“It wasn’t your typical ‘grip and grin,’” said pal and Sun-Times columnist Bill Zwecker. “You were always very aware it was Steve Starr taking your picture — whereas at other events it would just be some photographer.”



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