Science

Remembering Mike deGruy

Posted by: Tedstaff

We are saddened by the news that ocean photographer, filmmaker and storyteller Mike deGruy died yesterday in a helicopter crash in Australia. Mike was truly one of the great teachers and advocates for the oceans, as you can see in his TED Talk, filmed aboard Mission Blue in 2010:

In this talk, as in his photography and his many films, you can sense Mike’s infectious humor, his passion for the oceans — and his example of a life well and richly lived.

Photo top: Mike deGruy at Baltra Airport in the Galapagos Islands, April 2010. Photo below: deGruy holds a pair of shoes decorated by Jim Toomey, aboard the Mission Blue Voyage. Courtesy James Duncan Davidson.

Comments (23)

  • todor kostadinov commented on Feb 7 2012

    It is a tragically sad day for us all.

  • commented on Feb 6 2012

    Joining you in mourning Mike DeGruy. His death while doing what he loved has to be honored and regretted all at the same time. We certainly will miss his work and contributions to our lives in so many ways.

  • commented on Feb 6 2012

    RIP Mike.. may god bless your homely soul..

    Team at dishwasher

  • ann McWilliam commented on Feb 6 2012

    There was a Holiday party at deGruy’s house for the neighborhood; Humphrey Rd. Mike told exciting stories of diving and close encounters with sharks, to the delight of everyone. Fantastic enthusiasm and love for the ocean so contagious. He was also was well known at the film festival; Nature Ocean films. His contribution to ocean conservation immense. An honor to know him.

  • keith turner commented on Feb 6 2012

    I had the great privilege to be Mike’s asst. cameraman for almost a decade. Along with Paul and Gracie Atkins and Mike’s wife Mimi, we hiked over lava, dived with sharks, swam with Orcas, and flew over rainforests. Mike was a filmmaker, a colleague, a dive buddy, a mentor, an inspiration and a devoted friend. He was an imp that would stand at the edge of the Magic Forest, filled with mysteries and dangerous beasts, and beckon you to “come on, follow me”. And if you did, your moments would be filled with awe-inspiring, nerve-wracking, life-risking, life-altering adventure. To say he will be missed is like saying you would miss seeing or breathing if suddenly they were taken from you.
    The world is a little darker, a little less mischievous, a little less inspired and a whole lot less fun now that Mike is no longer with us. But his love of life, his sense of humor, his courage, his dedication, his artistry and his passion for Mother Ocean lives on in each us and our children as we share with others what Mike so generously gave to us.
    Aloha bruddah.

  • James A.R. McFarlane commented on Feb 6 2012

    I had the distinct pleasure and honor of working on a BBC documentary with Mike years.. He was in a class all alone, engaged and passionate about the oceans in a way that passed his enthusiasm to everyone he touched. There are few on this planet that can communicate so clearly the wonder of the deep sea and it’s inhabitants, he will be missed by all that he touched.

  • Ajay Prasad commented on Feb 6 2012

    What an amazing life…God Bless!

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  • Keenan Smart commented on Feb 5 2012

    I first met Mike in Hawaii over 30 years ago. During all those years he remained the same vibrant, fun loving, energetic enthusiast about everything related to natural history film making and the oceans. He truly celebrated Life and lived it to the full. Now, tragically, the natural world has lost a brilliant and dedicated champion. But his work will resonate and endure. Through his incredible passion and commitment to exploring the wonders of nature, many more will have been inspired to follow in his footsteps. There could only be one Mike deGruy, but he made a big difference. That will be his legacy to future generations.
    Mike was incredibly proud of his daughter Frances and his son Max. Our warmest sympathies are with them and his wife Mimi.
    Mike was one of my best pals and I will miss him so much.

  • Claire Fackler commented on Feb 5 2012

    The world has lost an amazing and passionate man, as well as an ocean lover, conservationist, filmmaker and much more. Mike deGruy will be missed by many. It is a tragic loss and my heart goes out to Mimi, his children and family, and too all of the friends Mike has made along the way. You’ll be remembered for you kind heart, infectious spirit and all that you have done to inspire people to understand and care for the ocean realm.

  • keith turner commented on Feb 5 2012

    I had the great privilege to be Mike’s asst. cameraman for almost a decade. Along with Paul and Gracie Atkins and Mike’s wife Mimi, we hiked over lava, dived with sharks, swam with Orcas, and flew over rainforests. Mike was a filmmaker, a colleague, a dive buddy, a mentor, an inspiration and a devoted friend. He was an imp that would stand at the edge of the Magic Forest, filled with mysteries and dangerous beasts, and beckon “come on, follow me”. And if you did, your moments would be filled with awe-inspiring, nerve-wracking, life-risking, life-altering adventure. To say he will be missed is like saying you would miss seeing or breathing if suddenly they were taken from you.
    The world is a little darker, a little less mischievous, a little less inspired and a whole lot less fun now that Mike is no longer with us. But his love of life, his sense of humor, his courage, his dedication, his artistry and his passion for Mother Ocean lives on in each us and our children as we give to others what Mike so generously shared with us.
    Aloha bruddah.

  • patricia pierce commented on Feb 5 2012

    as a person who has watched many wonderful documentaries with mike i was so, so saddened to hear about his passing…the world has truly lost someone who cared about our oceans and the creatures in them…when you see steve irwin tell him now he has another angel to help him look over our earth…corny it may be these 2 displayed a passion for their life’s work that they paid for with their life…both brought storytelling and nature cinematography to the small screen which they both will be remembered and sorely missed…thanks patricia pierce in mobile, alabama

  • William Strickrott commented on Feb 5 2012

    I was listening to NPR this AM when the sad news of Mike’s loss came over my iphone. I was floored, to say the least. Mike was a great person and a real joy to work with. He will be forever missed. His charisma, sense of humor and care for the ocean were a testament to his character. The Alvin Group sends it deepest regards to his family and friends. We will miss having him in the sub and on the R/V Atlantis.

    Bruce Strickrott
    DSV Alvin Expedition Leader
    Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution

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  • Dale Sarver commented on Feb 5 2012

    What a shock to hear Mike is gone. The world is a smaller place now. I first got to know Mike at the U. of Hawaii in the mid-1970′s. We shared an intense interest in the ocean’s creatures and photography. He had such a positive and adventurous spirit. Many will miss him.

  • Tierney Thys commented on Feb 5 2012

    It is a tragically sad day for us all. We’ve lost a dear friend, a phenomenal talent and one of the most lovable, generous, beautiful souls on the planet. You will be so missed, Mike. It was certainly not your time to go.

  • Mark Sylvester commented on Feb 5 2012

    We had the distinct pleasure of working with Mike here in Santa Barbara for many years and most recently at our TEDxAmericanRiviera events.

    In 2010 Mike spoke about his passion for the planet in a great talk that stemmed from his work in the Gulf, post oil blowout. You can watch that TEDx talk here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=EPOIiRxToiQ – then this past November he spearheaded a youth film project (watch here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S8201wl4jjw) for TEDxAmericanRiviera that was amazing. He mentored the entire crew of students to a production that we premiered. He fussed and fussed during our rehearsal to get the image displayed just perfectly – he sat in the audience with no one there and then went back home and tweaked the final print one more time and got it to us in the morning, just in time. That was Mike. He wanted it to be perfect, so the kids would be shown in the best light. For him, it was never about him – even when he was the host. It was always about the subject, the nature, the kids, the world around him.

  • debbie stelmach commented on Feb 5 2012

    So sad to learn of his passing. I’ve enjoyed his films and narratives for years. You could tell that he really enjoyed what he was doing. Aloha!

  • Mary Helan Vesenka-Turner commented on Feb 4 2012

    It is totally impossible to believe that Mike is gone. He was always bigger than life. His unsurpassed passion for his family, for filmmaking and for the ocean resulted in extraordinary works of art. He took the most amazing risks but made them seem as nothing with his infectious grin. He will be sorely missed by so many, all around the world.

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