Media

More Messages: A Rich Life

At 7 p.m. on Monday, February 12, Fox Sports Net Rocky Mountain will air an edition of its Drew Goodman-hosted Spotlight series focusing on Denver photographer Rich Clarkson. The program will concentrate on Clarkson's accomplishments in the field of sports, and there have been loads of them. For instance, he's covered fifty NCAA men's basketball Final Fours, including the landmark victory by the 1966 Texas Western squad, which became the first to win the championship with an all African-American starting five. The DVD of the 2006 film Glory Road, based on Texas Western's unlikely triumph, features a portfolio of Clarkson's images.

However, Clarkson has made snapshot history outside the sports world, too, as was noted in a November 2005 Message column. Turns out that when Clarkson was head of photography for a couple of Topeka, Kansas, newspapers circa 1960, he was the only shutterbug allowed to capture shots at the trial of Perry Smith and Richard Hickock, the men whose 1959 slaying of a farm family inspired Truman Capote's 1966 book In Cold Blood, as well as the 1967 movie of the same name. The story has been retold twice since then -- in the 2005 flick Capote, which earned Philip Seymour Hoffman a Best Actor Oscar, and 2006's Infamous.

The Clarkson photo seen above shows Smith, center, and Hickock, behind him, entering the courthouse where they were found guilty of murder. For more on the story behind the shot, click here. -- Michael Roberts

KEEP WESTWORD FREE... Since we started Westword, it has been defined as the free, independent voice of Denver, and we'd like to keep it that way. With local media under siege, it's more important than ever for us to rally support behind funding our local journalism. You can help by participating in our "I Support" program, allowing us to keep offering readers access to our incisive coverage of local news, food and culture with no paywalls.
Michael Roberts has written for Westword since October 1990, serving stints as music editor and media columnist. He currently covers everything from breaking news and politics to sports and stories that defy categorization.
Contact: Michael Roberts