In Memoriam: Derrick Ross

ARRI offers condolences to the family of Derrick Ross, founder of ARRI’s operations in the UK, who died on 3 August 2017.

In the autumn of 1982 ARRI approached Derrick Ross, at that time General Manager at Rank Strand, about setting up a UK sales subsidiary. Since the operation was entirely new, everything had to be built up from scratch: premises, furniture and equipment, appointing solicitors, bankers, accountants and staff. After getting things going with a team of just five in a one-room office above a shop in Weybridge, Derrick and Paul Wild established ARRI GB in May 1983 with two business units in Heston and around 15 employees.

Derick Ross

Initially ARRI GB was purely a camera and lighting sales center, with a bit of lab equipment sales and a fledgling service department. In the mid-1980s Stanley Kubrick’s UK-based FULL METAL JACKET shoot was supplied by ARRI Rental in Munich. They needed someone in the UK to provide service and support, so this film became ARRI GB’s unofficial first rental project. With the acquisition of Bell Lighting and then Media Film Services, the UK lighting and camera rental businesses were born. The first official rental job was Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves (1991), which used the then-new ARRIFLEX 535 A.

Derrick was instrumental in starting a video department as part of the UK rental operation. He had the foresight to see where the industry was headed and recruited Bill Lovell to head up the new department. The experience and contacts that were accumulated, as well as Bill Lovell’s expertise, were of great assistance in developing and promoting the ARRIFLEX D-20 and D-21 cameras, and eventually the ALEXA.

Respected and liked by ARRI GB employees for his fair and caring attitude, as well as his total grasp of the business, Derrick retired in 2001, enjoying a happy retirement on the Isle of Wight. He passed away during a family holiday in Spain, in August 2017, and is survived by his wife Susan and sons Graeme, David and Tim.