Washington Evening Journal
111 North Marion Avenue
Washington, IA 52353
The Henry County Heritage Trust hosted a presentation Saturday by Judy Rawson, covering her father, Bill Butler's journey from Mt. Pleasant to Hollywood.
Rawson’s PowerPoint presentation revolved around memories of her father along with stories from his life, spanning from his time in Mt. Pleasant to his career in Los Angeles.
A slideshow of photographs was also presented, giving attendees a visual look into Rawson and Butler's life.
Rawson told stories from numerous perspectives. She recounted her memory of being on the set of Grease and meeting Olivia Newton-John. Newton-John even held Rawson’s son after he let out a screech during filming. Rawson said that Newton-John was as lovely as can be.
She also read from a book that her father put together from different memories throughout his career. Many of his ventures led him overseas, and in one trip, he recalls spying on Russians, which wasn't made apparent to him at the time.
Rawson didn't always want to give a presentation about her father. In fact, she said no when she was first asked to do it. Eventually, Pat White, who is the Henry County Heritage Trust treasurer, convinced her to do it.
"It wasn't my idea," Rawson said. "They asked me to do it, and I said no. Pat twisted my arm. I have never done a PowerPoint presentation, so she loaded all the pictures, which I had never done. She did all the clicking through the slides. I appreciate that. I had all the memorabilia and all the information, and it was just a matter of putting it together in an order that I thought would be interesting to people. There's so much to talk about. We could've went for another hour."
Bulter came to Mt. Pleasant from Cripple Creek, Colorado. After graduating from Mt. Pleasant High School, he attended Iowa Wesleyan for a year before transferring to the University of Iowa.
He eventually made his way to Chicago, where he helped create the first television station at WGN-TV. During his time at WGN-TV, Bulter met William Friedkin.
Friedkin offered Bulter his first job as a cinematographer on the documentary, The People vs. Paul Crump, which focused on an Illinois prisoner set to be executed. This was when Butler's interest shifted from live TV to film.
After working on a few low-budget feature films, Butler moved to Los Angeles in 1970. That is when Butler met Steven Spielberg, eventually teaming up to shoot the classic Jaws in 1975.
He would go on to work on other films such as Grease and Rocky II, III, and IV. These are just select few of the well know films that he worked on.
Bulter has won a multitude of awards over his career, including the American Society of Cinematographers Lifetime Achievement Award in 2003 and the Charleston International Film Festival's inaugural lifetime achievement award in 2013.
He currently resides in Montana and just recently celebrated his 100th birthday.
For Rawson, who now lives in Winfield, it's great that people are taking an interest in her fathers' life and history.
"I'm tickled that anyone showed up," she said. "I know there was a lot going on today. The weather's nice and people are out farming. I'm sorry more people didn't show up but tickled that some did come. It's nice to be able to share his story because it's unique and different and not something that people around here really understand. Out in California, that's a different ballgame. This being his hometown, I like to share a little bit of his story."