Hurrell was born in Covington, Kentucky, he originally studied fine art as a painter but soon developed an interest in photography when he began to use photography as a medium for recording his paintings. He moved from Chicago to California in 1925 and found that photography was a more lucrative career than painting.His talent for photography was supported by his friend and model aviatrix Pancho Barnes, Hurrell eventually opened a photo studio in LA.
In the late 1920s, Hurrells career flousished and for the next 10 years Hurrell photographed every star in Hollywood, his black-and-white images were stiking and used for stars promotional pictures. Dorothy Jordan, Myrna Loy, Robert Montgomery, Jean Harlow, Joan Crawford, Clark Gable, Carole Lombard were regularly photographed by Hurrell and Norma Shearer, who was rumoured to have refused to allow herself to be photographed by anyone else. His most famou muse was probably Greta Garbo who only posed for him once.
Hurrell moved to Warner Brothers Studios in the early 1940s photographing, stars like Bette Davis, Ann Sheridan, Errol Flynn, Maxine Fife, Humphrey Bogart and James Cagney. He later moved to Columbia Pictures where he photographed Rita Hayworth.
After the war George was involved with training films for the army, he then moved to New York where he embarked upon a career in fashion magazines and editorial photography for adverts before he came back to Hollywood in the 1960s.
1970s brought a peak to his career as he had the chance to photograph celebrities like Raquel Welch, Farrah Fawcett and John Travolta. He retired in 1976 but continued to take photographs as a hobby he photographed Sharon Stone and Brooke Shields several times during the 1980s in glamour shoots. For Joan Collins’ Playboy shoot in 1984 at the age of 50 she insisted the photographer was Hurrell, he photographed her in a nude 12 page layout for the bestselling issue.