Born Melbourne Australia 1940
Underwater filmmaker, professional diver, pilot, soldier, conservationist and writer, Krov Menuhin has pursued a life of adventure, exploring the earth’s extremities and, he says, “experiencing the oceans and the atmosphere first-hand”.
Menuhin moved to the Bahamas in his teens and took up deep-sea diving, which, along with flying, later became a vocation and a lifelong passion. After leaving university in 1961, he served for three years with the U.S. Army’s Special Forces, the famous Green Berets.
Recognized as one of the foremost underwater cameramen in the 1970s and 1980s, he produced, directed and filmed what the BBC calls ‘the worlds first whale film’ the Valdes Bay of Whales in 1972 and won top honours for his work at the World Wildlife Film Festival. In the 1980s, he became the first to film the Blue Whale underwater and directed the French television adventure series, USHUAIA staying with them until he retired in 2010.
Menuhin is now the Chairman of the Hans Hass Award for excellence and contributions to man’s understanding of the oceans, one of the most prestigious in the Marine world.
Early life and military service
Krov Menuhin was born in Melbourne Australia, his mother, Nola was the daughter of Australian pharmacist George Nicholas, inventor of Aspro. His father was Lord Yehudi Menuhin, violinist and conductor and one of the 20th centuries greatest musicians.
Nola and Yehudi married in 1938, had two children, Zamira and Krov before divorcing in 1947. In 1954 Nola, Krov and his step-father moved to the Bahamas where he formed a life-long passion for the ocean, starting SCUBA diving at the age of 14 in 1954 and working as a diving instructor all through his late teens for Gardner Young one of the most eminent pioneers of the tourist diving industry.
Krov was educated in the USA and Switzerland, then attended the University of Denver Colorado for 3 years with a major in Journalism.
While at University Krov raced sports cars from 1958 until 1961 driving a Porsche RSK and Porsche Super 90 in Sports Car Club of America races as well as the International Bahamas Speed Weeks in 1961.
In 1961 Krov volunteered for service with the US Army’s Special Forces, the Green Berets. Sent for training with the U.S. Navy, he was honour graduate of the U.S. Navy’s Underwater Swimmer’s School.
After Graduation from Special Forces Training at Fort Bragg Krov was posted initially to the 10th Special Forces at Bad Tolz Germany.
Krov teaching Winter Warfare 10th Special Forces
Other military schools include combat engineer, parachute school as well as HALO (High Altitude-LowOpening) parachute school (High altitude parachuting from 30,000 feet 10,000 meters) and instructor in advanced Training at the Special Warfare School Fort Bragg.
Menuhin was an instructor of guerrilla warfare, winter warfare and of underwater operations.
Menuhin was honourably discharged from the US Army on 31 August 1968.
1965 – 1971 As well as attending Flight School and flying commercially, Krov worked as a journalist for Oceans Magazine of France, pioneered small powerboat voyages through the Bahamas, ‘Invitation to Boating Magazine’ and worked as a professional commercial diver with Big John McLaughlin for the Ocean Systems division of Union Carbide on the world’s first working dive using Neon gas to replace much of the Helium normally used when they recovered a B-52 Bomber that crashed into Lake Michigan
My first aeroplane ‘pedro’
The GI Bill of Rights for all servicemen who served during the Vietnam War enabled entry to flight school. 1967 Graduation brought a Commercial pilot’s certificate with an instrument rating, single and multi-engine land, single and multi Engine Sea (amphibian), helicopter and rotorcraft and Douglas D.C.3.
Menuhin flew for various Airline companies in the Bahamas 1968-1971 including Island Flying Service flying Grumman Goose and Widgeon and Colony Airlines that included flying as the pilot for the Government and the Police Patrol.
In 1968 Krov obtained an FIA flight competition licence, competing in the King’s Cup Air Races in the UK and passed the French glider pilot’s license in 1980.
Krov with Tiger Moth: King’s Cup Air Races
Krov flying his Maule Amphibian over Mt. McKinley Alaska
Krov ultimately earned a U.S. Airline Transport licence with an endorsement for DC3. Plus an Australian Commercial Helicopter licence. Krov has accumulated 3000 hours flying experience much of it flying the Maule amphibian for the French Television program ‘Ushuaia’ in the Arctic from Frobisher in the East to Point Barrow Alaska in the West and throughout Central America and the Caribbean.
Marriage and Film Career
In 1967 Krov Menuhin and Elizabeth Ann Christoffers married. [8 For much of their life together they worked as a team making documentaries of underwater wildlife. In 1982 they had a son, Aaron.
In 1971 the Menuhin’s teamed up with Andreas and Maria-Isabel Pruna to make their first film in Argentina, the first film ever made at the Valdes Peninsula about the Southern Right Whale and considered by the BBC to be ‘the worlds first whale film’.
Krov filming Southern Right Whale
Between 1971 and 1982 the Menuhin’s worked primarily with the BBC Natural History Unit, with expeditions to Argentina, Central America, the Red Sea and Mexico’s Baja California, co-producing, directing, filming and writing a series of Natural History films.
In 1982, with their son Aaron, they followed with a series of Anthropological films, South Seas Voyage, in the South-West Pacific from Vanuatu, through the Solomon Islands to Papua New Guinea for HTV and Channel 4.
Krov and Ann prepare to dive to find the sunken island of Tolamp in Vanuatu
Krov with Aaron aboard their Zodiac in Rabaul Harbour Papua
Krov flying a powered delta in the South Pacific
Ann Menuhin diving on the wreck of the SS President Coolidge finds the famous ‘Lady’
In 1983 Menuhin was voted a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society.
From 1983 to 2010 Menuhin worked as program conception, director, aircraft pilot, underwater cameraman and the diving supervisor for a weekly adventure television series proposed and presented by Nicolas Hulot titled Ushuaia for French television TF1 Group.
This program ran for 27 years, initially Ushuaïa, le magazine de l’extrême, then becoming Ushuaïa Nature. Very little in the natural World escaped their cameras. “C’est en grande partie grace a lui (Menuhin) qu’Ushuaia aura fait rever pendant 25 ans des millions de telespectateurs” –
“ It is in great measure thanks to him (Menuhin) that for 25 years Ushuaia has been making millions of television viewers dream” Nicolas Hulot.
In 1990 Menuhin was chosen by the Rolex Watch company to be on their jury of their Rolex Awards for the Spirit of Enterprise.
1992-1994. Menuhin conceived and planned the largest marine project ever made for television at that time. The 26 million dollar, “Unknown Oceans Project” for Canal+ of France. For this project he had two, 2 man acrylic submarines built, the Deep Rover II, both capable of diving to 1000 meters. Designed by Graham Hawkes at Deep Ocean Engineering and advised by Dr. Sylvia Earle these submersibles were totally revolutionary.
Menuhin left in January 1994 as a result of a disagreement with management about decisions they were making that he felt would imperil the project. Within the next year the project came to an end.
In 1994 Krov and Ann were divorced.
1994 -2003 Menuhin returned to the Bahamas and worked with conservation groups to preserve the unique features of the marine environment as well as making short films to assist in this undertaking.
2003 until 2010 Menuhin returned to France to live and continued to work with USHUAIA Nature.
In 2004 Menuhin was once again chosen by the Rolex Watch Company to be on the Jury of the Rolex Awards for the Spirit of Enterprise.
2009 Festival Mondial Image Sous-Marine 2009 à Marseille asked that he be President of the Jury, group A Films.
2012 A book to commemorate 25 years of Ushuaia (Nos annees Ushuaia, 25 ans d’emerveillement), was published and laid much of the success of the program on Menuhin’s contribution.
Krov has produced, directed and filmed 8 major one-hour specials for BBC and Channel 4 UK he has as well directed and filmed 6 one-hour specials for French and Japanese Television and directed and filmed over 30 Ushuaia feature programs as well as working as a freelance cameraman for numerous productions. Krov has as well written the scripts and narrated over 30 films and when he retired from directing took on the responsibility of supervising the diving operations of Ushuaia Nature.
2010 Menuhin retired from filming and in 2015 moved back to the Bahamas where he married Karen Baugh-Palin and where they both live. Karen, is a highly respected author enjoying enormous success writing historical mysteries, the ‘Heathcliff-Lennox’ series. karenmenuhin.com Krov’s son Aaron is now a qualified lawyer as well as an accomplished artist and musician he is Married to Merle, nee Fairhurst, a neuro-scientist and they have four children, Arthur, Vera, Ava and Edgar and live in both the UK and Germany.
Menuhin continues to be active in marine conservation and is Chairman of the Hans Hass Award for excellence in and contributions to man’s knowledge in the ocean.
Krov at home in Nassau Bahamas having returned to the country that inspired his life in the ocean.
As a result, Hans personally asked Menuhin to take over the award in his last years. This award has become one of the most prestigious in the marine world with past winners being among others: Dr Sylvia Earle, James Cameron, professor Chi Weicheng and Laurent Ballesta. The Hans Hass Award has teamed with the Blancpain Watch Company and created the Blancpain Fifty Fathom Award. Krov is also on the Advisory Board of the Historical Diving Society USA.
Krov and Leslie Leaney, publisher and executive editor of the Journal of Diving History as well as an executive director of the Hans Hass Award, present the Hans Hass Fifty Fathom Award to Laurent Ballesta. Other committee members are Ernie Brooks, Laurent Ballesta and Michael Jung.
In September 2017 Krov Menuhin was inducted into the International Scuba Diving Hall of Fame.https://krovmenuhin.com/2017/10/04/inarguration-into-scuba-diving-hall-of-fame-september-28th-2017/
In 2019 Krov and Karen decided to move to the UK in order to be closer to their families and now live in the Cotswolds not far from Oxford.
Film credits: One-hour specials with BBC
Each of the BBC films were distributed world-wide through BBC enterprises reaching audiences of 200 million.
- Valdes Bay of Whales (sold to Public Broadcasting Service – PBS – renamed Prospect of Whales and used by PBS as national fundraiser): Producer, Specialist Cameraman and Co-Director with Andreas Pruna. Broadcast on BBC 2, 5th May 1974
2. Mayan Connection: Producer, Director, Cameraman, Writer and expedition leader. Broadcast on BBC 2 on 23rd November 1975
3. The Reef at Ras Muhammad: Co-Producer, Director, Cameraman, Writer and expedition leader. Broadcast on BBC 1 on 20th August 1979
4. Giants of the Vermilion Sea: Producer, Director, Cameraman, Writer and expedition leader. Sold to PBS Boston. Distributed in the USA on the PBS network. Broadcast on BBC I Note: during the filming of this project Menuhin was the first ever to film Blue Whale underwater.
One Hour specials with HTV, Channel 4 and Discovery Network
South Seas Voyage, was a series of one-hour specials with HTV Ltd. England. Sold to PBS, USA. Broadcast on Channel 4 U.K. Broadcast as well on the USA Discovery network. Menuhin was also the expedition leader. These were principally anthropologically oriented films.
- Cults, Custom and Missionaries: Co-producer, Director, Underwater Cameraman, Writer and presenter.
2. Gods, Kava and Sunken Ships: Co-producer, Director, Underwater Cameraman, Writer and presenter.
3. The Day of Tikopea: Co-producer, Director, Underwater Cameraman, Writer and presenter.
4. Copper, Copra and Volcanoes: Co-producer, Director, Underwater Cameraman, Writer and presenter.
On the Edge of Paradise this film looked at the problems common to each individual Nation in the Caribbean. Menuhin was cameraman, both surface and underwater. Broadcast on BBC 1 November 8th 1981.
Pilot film (not broadcast) for Australian Broadcasting, ABC: Exploration North: Menuhin worked as cameraman surface and Underwater and flying a 1932 Tiger Moth bi-plane 2000 miles through the outback.
The following films were made for French Television, including TF1 and Antenne 2;
′Raise the Aloise′ – Director/Underwater Cameraman.
′Debussy, La Mer and Clouds′ – Underwater and Helicopter cameraman.
′Les Poneys Sauvage′ – Underwater Cameraman
′Le Defis des Ocean′ were 6 x 1 hour films about the ocean for TF1, RAI (Italy) and NHK (Japan). Menuhin was cameraman and director of special marine sequences on the following 3 films.
′Fishing on the Grand Banks′
′The Story of the French Frogmen′
′The Submarines of IFREMER′
Worked with Christian Petron‘s Cinemarine as free-lance cameramen
This lead to work with USHUAIA magazine for 25 years. Ushuaia became the most popular adventure/natural history magazine program in France as well as one of the most popular general programs on French television. Also sold to CBS in the USA.
Ushuaia episodes 70,71,72 were filmed in China and Mount Emi-Shan and included Hang-gliding. In Outer Mongolia, the activity was Ballooning.
Ushuaia episodes 36 and 45. Filmed in France: Horseback riding in The Camargue and in Marineland was swimming with Dolphins.
Ushuaia episode 30. Located in the Turks and Caicos Islands where they were Diving and flying in Menuhin’s amphibious aircraft. The program was a tribute to Krov and Ann’s film work.
Ushuaia episodes 51, 158 and 123. Based around Vancouver in the Submersible Deep Rover and One Atmosphere Diving suit and Dr. Paul Spong.
Ushuaia episode 76. Seattle and diving with Giant Octopus.
Ushuaia episodes 105 and 106 Filmed in Belize and Guatemala at Tikal. Flying in Menuhin’s airplane, diving the Blue Hole and horseback riding through the jungle.
Ushuaia episodes 96 and 99. The Maldives and diving with sharks and underwater fauna.
Ushuaia episodes 65 and 66. The Cayman Islands swimming with Stingrays, flying Menuhin’s aeroplane and making a submarine dive.
Ushuaia episodes 79, 80 and 81. Argentina, the Valdes Peninsula filming Whales and other underwater creatures. Diving in Patagonia.
Ushuaia episodes 58 and 59. Location Chile/Argentina – Cape Horn and Beagle Channel.
Ushuaia ‘Temps Fort’ 1990. portrait of Dr. Paul Spong.
Ushuaia Special portrait of Dr. Phil Nuytten 1992.
The following 3 films were made for the Ushuaia Foundation in 1990 and 1991 in Canada and Alaska. Only certain segments were broadcast on the television programmes
The Crater of New Quebec
Adventures sur le Canal du Mozambique. December 29, 2010. Diving Supervisor.
Un Jour la Terre s’est noyee. December 29, 2008. Diving Supervisor.
D’un Ocean a L’Autre. December 26, 2007. Diving Supervisor.
Les deniers hommes libres. July 2, 2008. Diving supervisor.
La terre des Tribus. August 3, 2009. Underwater Cameraman.
Other film work
A demonstration film for KODAK to introduce their cine-film 7292.
Prizes and Awards
World Wildlife Film Festival for best Marine documentary.
Best underwater documentary for Giants of the Vermillion Sea and The Reef at Ras Muhammad.
Tulon Festival Silver medal for Raise the Alose, Silver medal for Giants of the Vermillion Sea and Bronze medal for Copper Copra and Missionaries.
Prix de la Marine National for Passion Des Epaves.
Antibes Festival, Gold medal T.V.Documentary for Passion des Epaves and Silver medal 16mm category for Passion des Epaves.
Winner of the 1983 Bronze Award – Athens International Festival of Underwater Films
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