NIH Record - National Institutes of Health

Former NIH Photographer Hecht Mourned

Jerry Hecht
Retired NIH cameraman Gerald “Jerry” Hecht

Gerald “Jerry” Victor Hecht, a public affairs specialist for the former Audiovisual Branch in the NIH Office of the Director and a photographer who captured many signal moments in NIH history, died Nov. 24 of complications from Parkinson’s disease. 

Hecht joined NIH in 1959 in the photo section of what is now the Division of Medical Arts. His duties extended beyond NIH to the U.S. surgeon general’s office and the office of the HHS secretary.

He spent a few years at NIMH, where he helped set up photography, film and television facilities, then returned to OD. Not only did he take photographs, primarily black-and-white images used in such publications as the NIH Record, and Time and Life magazines, but also he produced and directed films of NIH research for television.

Hecht also made public service announcements for TV, alerting people to health and safety hazards such as tick-borne Rocky Mountain spotted fever, high blood pressure and dental caries. He helped the news media produce stories about NIH for such programs as the Today Show and 20/20. He retired from NIH in July 1987.

A collection of Hecht’s prints can be found at

Hecht was preceded in death by his first wife, Annabelle Hecht. Survivors include his wife Gisele Dahan Hecht; three sons, Barry Alan Hecht, George David Hecht and Roger William Hecht; sister Davina Hecht; and four grandchildren.

The NIH Record

The NIH Record, founded in 1949, is the biweekly newsletter for employees of the National Institutes of Health.

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