Edgar Preston Ames was born in San Mateo, California, studied architecture in France in the early 1930s, and worked briefly for the architect Arthur Brown, Jr. in San Francisco. By 1936, in the depth of the Depression, there was very little construction or architecture taking place and, like many of his contemporaries, Ames sought employment in Hollywood. Cedric Gibbons, the supervising art director at MGM, was impressed with his architectural drawings and immediately hired the brilliant young designer. Among the many films that enjoyed his talents as a draftsman was The Wizard of Oz (1939). Shortly thereafter he was promoted to unit art director. ...more


An architect, decorator, muralist, set designer, and art director, John Gabriel Beckman was a dapper, cultured, modest gentleman with an extraordinary wealth of talent whose motion picture career began in Hollywood during the silent era and continued for more than seventy years. His life was nothing if not colorful: a possible descendant of the Czar of Russia, he met the painter Claude Monet in Paris, survived the 1906 San Francisco earthquake, cancelled a passage he had booked on the Titanic’s maiden voyage, designed murals for Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian theaters, married twice and was still working on the CBS series Designing Women when he died in 1989 at the age of ninety-one. ...more


John Allan Hyatt Box, OBE, was nicknamed “the magician” and received an Academy Award after he created a snowy Russia while on location in scorching Spain for Doctor Zhivago (1966). For The Inn of the Sixth Happiness (1958) he built a Chinese wall in Wales and for Rollerball (1975) he designed the arena and devised the game. Box is known for his collaborations with famed director David Lean, beginning with the film Lawrence of Arabia (1962), for which he won the Academy Award in 1963. Box was a graduate of the London School of Architecture. He began his career as an architect and stage designer, turning to films during the mid-1950s.
Box is best known for creating exotic foreign settings and making the repulsive and lifeless look lively, colorful and exciting. ...more

(1909 - 2010)

Production Designer Robert F. Boyle was born in Los Angeles in 1909, and raised partly in Los Angeles and partly in the town of Hanford in the San Joaquin Valley, on his family’s small ranch. He attended the University of Southern California, where he studied architecture and graduated in 1933.

Like many young architects completing their training at the height of the Depression, Boyle discovered that job opportunities were limited in the architectural field. While acting as a bit player he was referred to the Paramount Art Department, and he started there soon after as a draftsman.
Throughout the 1930s, Paramount’s Art Department, headed by Hans Dreier, regularly brought to life some of the most impressive films in Hollywood. ...more

(1910 - 2002)

Born in Nebraska, Hilyard Brown studied architecture at the University of Southern California along with ADG Lifetime Achievement Award recipient Robert Boyle and Hall of Fame member Boris Leven, and entered the film industry in 1934 as a draftsman at RKO. His first screen credit was as an Assistant Art Director on Citizen Kane (1941), working with Art Director Perry Ferguson. That classic film influenced much of Brown’s later work: Valley of the Zombies (1946), All My Sons (1948), Creature From the Black Lagoon (1954), and Al Capone (1959). ...more

(1903 - 1967)

Veteran MGM Unit Art Director Malcolm F. Brown designed films as rich and varied as They Were Expendable (1945), The Three Musketeers (1948), It’s a Big Country (1951), Bad Day at Black Rock (1955), No Time For Sergeants (1958), the first season of The Twilight Zone (1963-64) and Cat Ballou (1965). He was nominated for an Academy Award® for his work on I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955) and won the Academy Award® for Somebody Up There Likes Me (1957).

Malcolm Brown was one of Cedric Gibbons’ Unit Art Directors at MGM in the period surrounding the Second World War, and he made his most enduring mark with gritty war dramas such as They Were Expendable (1945), a brutally realistic black-and-white film about PT Boat warfare directed by John Ford. ...more


When Wilfred Buckland came to Hollywood and joined Famous Players-Lasky (later Paramount) in 1914, he began an extraordinary series of changes in the way films were designed. Buckland had been a prominent theatrical designer who had produced as well as designed plays on Broadway. His move to films began the recognition of Art Direction as an integral, creative part of movie making, and his lighting techniques revolutionized the young industry. Previously, settings had been flat lighted with natural daylight through the use of open-air and glass-roofed stages. Buckland pioneered the use of spotlighting for both interiors and exteriors, and his use of theatrical-style Kleig lighting – the style which came to be known as “Lasky lighting”– added great drama to film design. ...more


Henry Bumstead designed feature films for more than six decades, beginning in the forties and continuing through 2006 with the films, Flags of Our Fathers (2006) and Letters From Iwo Jima (2006). For Flags, he received his third ADG Excellence in Production Design nomination.

In his early career, Bummy worked at Paramount under the tutelege of Hall of Fame member Hans Dreier. His early films for the studio were varied and uniformly well-designed. Saigon (1948), Streets of Laredo (1949), Sailor Beware (1952) and The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1955) led to a partnership with director Alfred Hitchcock that produced The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958), the first of Bumstead’s four Oscar® nominations. Though shot in Technicolor, the film’s settings masterfully captured a film-noir style and atmosphere. ...more

(1907 - 1996)

Edward Carfagno’s career spanned six decades as one of the most prolific and successful Production Designers in the history of filmmaking. The extraordinary breadth and epic scale of his more than eighty films rank him at the very top of our profession.

Born in Los Angeles, Carfagno attended USC from 1927-1933 and earned his graduate degree in Architecture as a classmate of Production Designers Boris Leven, Al Nozaki and Robert Boyle. Following his graduation, Carfagno was hired by Cedric Gibbons at MGM and quickly rose through the ranks. He was a senior draftsman on the Wizard of Oz (1939, designed by William Hornung and Gibbons) and in 1943 was allowed to design his first film, Best Foot Forward (1943), a musical comedy starring Lucille Ball. He went on to spend almost forty years at MGM designing films, and the occasional television program. ...more


Carroll Clark had three distinct careers in Art Direction: first at RKO working on stylish black-and white musicals such as Flying Down to Rio (1933), The Gay Divorcee (1934) and Shall We Dance (1937); the second during the post-war film noir period designing Cornered (1945), and While the City Sleeps (1956); the third at Walt Disney Studios creating Old Yeller (1957), Darby O’Gill and the Little People (1959), Mary Poppins (1964) and the television series Disneyland (1954). ...more


Born in Illinois on the last day of 1911, William Robert Clatworthy began his film career as a unit art director at Paramount in the late 1930s, hired--like so many others--by the studio's Supervising Art Director Hans Dreier. His first credit was a Paramount staple, Bulldog Drummond's Peril (1938). Mr. Clatworthy worked steadily, assisting Dreier and the other unit art directors, but was unable to advance in that highly talented and competitive art department. ...more

(1882 - 1963)

Bill Darling was one of the leading and most influential designers in the early days of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and helped to establish what the craft was to become under the major studio system.

Born in Hungary as Wilmos Bela Sandorhaji, Darling studied architectural design and painting at the Royal Hungarian Academy of the True Arts and after graduation pursued a career in fine art as a portrait painter. He moved to Paris when he received a scholarship for further study at the École des Beaux-Arts, and then on to New York in 1910 where he became a popular and successful artist, painting portraits for wealthy clients. ...more


Richard Day was the first, and possibly the greatest of the early free-lance Art Directors. He began his trendsetting work in the silent era as Erich von Stroheim’s designer for films such as Foolish Wives (1922), Greed (1923) and The Wedding March (1928), worked in Cedric Gibbons’ MGM art department on glitzy musicals and dramas such as Our Dancing Daughters (1928), and capped his lengthy career forty years later with an Oscar nomination for Tora! Tora! Tora! (1970). ...more


John DeCuir was born in San Francisco and studied drawing at Chouinard Art Institute in Los Angeles. Like many artists who came of age during the Depression, he found work in the film industry and was hired in 1938 by Universal as a 20 year old “draftsman,” although much of the work expected of him would today be called “illustration.”

Indeed, throughout his career he was known and respected as one of the industry’s most talented illustrators. During a decade at Universal, DeCuir honed his craft ...more


Born in Bremen, Germany, Hans Dreier studied architecture in Munich and worked as a supervising architect for the German Imperial government in the Cameroons, West Africa. After serving in the military in World War I, he began his film career with the UFA studios in Berlin in 1919, soaking in the modernistic style of the country’s leading Art Directors. German films of this period were distinguished by Expressionist or Art Deco forced-perspective sets; many of these were the handiwork of the mathematically precise creativity of Hans Dreier. In 1923 he was brought to Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, and contributed to the mittel-European look of many of their films, particularly those of Ernst Lubitsch and Josef Von Sternberg. ...more


Cedric Gibbons’ record eleven Oscars© and thirty-nine nominations will probably never be matched. His contract at MGM, from 1924 through 1956, required that he receive credit as Supervising Art Director on every film produced by that studio in the United States, and his name appeared on over 1000 films. He was clearly the most influential Supervising Art Director of Hollywood’s Golden Age.

Born in Brooklyn, Gibbons worked first for his father, a prominent architect, and studied art and commercial design at the Art Students League. He began designing films in 1914 at the Edison Studios where he caused a stir by replacing the traditional painted backdrops with three-dimensional furnishings. ...more


Illustrator and Art Director Ralph Harper Goff, a lifelong model train enthusiast, first met Walt Disney in 1951 at a model shop in London. "When he asked me what I do for a living, and I told him that I was an artist, he said, 'When you get back to America, come and talk to me.'" Ultimately, Mr. Goff would join the artistic team of the Walt Disney Studios and embark on an exciting lifelong journey developing motion picture and Imagineering projects for the company, a relationship that continued until his death. His extraordinary work gave a distinctive character to a number of Disney productions. ...more

(1908 - 2005)

Prince Alexander Alexandrovich Galitzine was born in Moscow, a relative of the tsars, but escaped the country with his family during the Russian Revolution. While his father was imprisoned, his mother fled with their five children in a boxcar across Siberia, finally reaching Harbin in what was then Manchuria. After his father finally got free, he brought Alex and two of his sisters to Seattle, where Alex graduated from Victoria Boys School and then enrolled at the University of Washington. ...more

(1889 - 1973)

Born in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Stephen Goosson studied architecture at Syracuse University before returning to Detroit to practice. After just a few years, though, show business beckoned and he moved to New York City to work for Lewis Selznick, David O. Selznick’s father. Two years later he found himself inventing new methods when he designed Little Lord Fauntleroy (1921) with Mary Pickford producing and playing both roles.

Goosson wrote:
“The materials we needed to do the job didn’t exist. So we devised them - some of which are still being used. The sets were built oversized. Stair risers were twelve inches, the railings in proportion ...more

(1927 - 1988)

Stephen Grimes was born in Weybridge, Surrey, England and spent his career working with only a few of cinema's finest directors: David Lean, John Huston, Sidney Pollack, among others. While most designers would envy the chance at one film with any of these, Grimes became the favorite designer of each, and most called on him again and again. His career is an object lesson in the value a Production Designer can hold for a director, and of the value the designer derives from steadfast loyalty to a talented director. ...more


Anton Grot dominated Art Direction at Warner Bros. beginning in the twenties until his retirement at the end of the forties. In films such as Gold Diggers of 1933, Grot did as much to set the style of Warner’s musicals as did their more famous choreographer, Busby Berkeley. Grot came to the United States from Poland in 1909 at the age of 25, changing his name from Antocz Franciszek Groszewski.

He had studied at the Cracow Academy of the Arts and then gone to Koenigsberg, Germany, Technical College to further his studies in interior design and illustration. ...more

(1918 - 1993)

Ted Haworth was born in Cleveland, grew up in Willoughby, Ohio, and went on to attend the University of Southern California. He began his studio career as a set designer and assistant art director at Warner Bros. And worked for a number of years before his debut screen credit on Hitchcock’s classic noir thriller Strangers On a Train (1951).

He received another dozen or so art director credits over the next five years at a number of different studios, before he designed yet another classic, director Don Siegel’s science-fiction/horror thriller Invasion of the Body Snatchers (1956), shot largely on locations throughout Los Angeles and featuring Sierra Madre as the remote town where alien pod people silently replace the local residents. ...more

(1926 - 1981)

Dale Hennesy was first introduced to the motion picture industry by his father, Hugh Hennesy, a layout artist for Disney. The younger Hennesy studied painting and motion picture illustration at the School for Allied Arts in Glendale, and began his career as an illustrator at 20th Century Fox.

Hennesy was one of the premiere illustrators in the industry throughout the 1950's, working for John DeCuir on The King and I (1956) and for Walt Disney, evolving concept illustrations for the original Disneyland. ...more

(1919 - 2001)

Albert Heschong was present at the very beginning of television design, and over a fifty year career designed literally hundreds of television dramas, at first for live broadcast and later on videotape and film.

He was born and grew up in Cincinnati, Ohio, the son of German immigrant parents. When the new Walnut Hills College Preparatory High School was built next to his childhood home, he resolved to enroll. The school had a brand new, state-of-the-art theater with trapped stage and a fifty-foot fly loft. Throughout high school he alternately acted, and designed and constructed sets for the school productions. ...more


Harry Horner was born in Holnitz in what is now Slovakia, although it was still part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire at that time. After studying architecture in Vienna, he went to work as an assistant to Max Reinhardt, who was directing theater, opera, and the occasional film in Berlin. When Reinhardt came to the U.K. and then to the United States in 1935 following the rise of Nazi rule in Germany, Horner followed. ...more

(1912 - 1990)

“Mac” Johnson was born in Los Angeles and, like so many other successful art directors of his generation, graduated from the USC School of Architecture, and studied at the Art Center School of Design in Pasadena. After graduation, he worked for well-known architect, furniture and industrial designer Kem Weber until he was hired by Selznick Studios in 1938. There he worked as a sketch-artist, executing many of the elaborate drawings for Gone with the Wind (1939), and he was heavily involved with the creation of the special effects for The Wizard of Oz that same year. ...more

(1929 - 1995)

Romain Johnston wanted to be an actor when left his hometown of Flint, Michigan, to attend Carnegie Tech in Pittsburgh, but he switched to theater design as a freshman, and set his sights directly on becoming an art director. His timing was perfect, and he arrived in New York at the very beginning of the television era.

At the age of twenty, he was hired to design NBC’s Voice of Firestone, a thirty-minute live series that featured classical singers and allowed Johnson to create stylized evocations of opera sets in his clean and elegant signature style. ...more

(1886 - 1966)

Alfred Junge was one of the most important of the European art directors who worked entirely overseas and never emigrated to the United States. He was one of the most influential German production designers of the 1920s, the most productive period in German cinema. Born in 1886, in Görlitz, Germany, Junge had wanted to be an artist from childhood. He joined the Görlitz Stadttheater at eighteen and worked there for over fifteen years, making a name for himself as a stage designer in the teens when expressionism was all the rage in European theater. ...more

(1947 - 2003)

Bob Keene, one of the most prolific Production Designers in live television, designed over 700 television programs dating back to his first design for NBC New Chicago in 1975. While still a student at California State University at Long Beach, he visited one of the television industry’s leading Production Designers, E. Jay Krause, who was then designing a regular stream of Bob Hope, Danny Thomas and Jack Benny Specials at NBC. ...more


Boris Leven was born in Moscow and immigrated to America with his prominent family, fleeing the Bolshevik revolution. He studied architecture at USC, a classmate of Robert Boyle’s, and joined the Paramount Art Department in 1933 as a sketch artist and draftsman, learning the craft under the legendary Hans Dreier in the department that came to be known as “Dreier College.”

He viewed the motion picture industry as temporary employment to carry him through the lean years until work in architectural firms picked up again. When Leven moved over to 20th Century-Fox at the end of the 1930's, however, he found his calling as an Art Director. ...more


Production designer Charles Lisanby will be remembered for his pioneering work on television and Broadway throughout a long and varied career. He remains to this day the only art director in the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame.

Growing up on a remote farm outside of Princeton in western Kentucky, where his mother was an artist and his father the District Attorney, he always drew and painted. At the age of ten he built a scale model of the newly-opened Radio City Music Hall, complete with a revolving stage and a contour curtain that worked. After graduating from high school at sixteen ...more

(1903 – 1991)

Eugene Lourié had several careers, and all of them were hugely influential in the development of contemporary Production Design.

Lourié was born in 1903 in Kharkov in tsarist Russia, and fled the country with his family following the Bolshevik Revolution in 1917, first to Turkey and then to France. The young boy had fallen in love with movies at an early age and was destined for a career in cinema. Although he studied painting in the 1920s, he always supported himself with film work and never pursued a real career in fine art. ...more


Born in Yeovil, in Somerset, England, Richard MacDonald was an important British production designer whose work spanned a thirty-five year career in both the United States and the United Kingdom. He studied to become a painter at the Royal College of Art and then served in the Royal Navy during World War II.
After the war, he taught painting at Leeds College of Art and the Camberwell School of Art in London.

Following a brief career designing for the theater, MacDonald worked for several advertising firms as a television art director before moving into the British film industry. He was open-minded and imaginative, an adaptable designer who worked well on films set in widely different periods and locations, and his career would bring him to collaborate with many of the industry's finest directors. His most successful collaboration began after American director Joseph Losey, unwilling to subject himself to the well-known intimidation tactics of the House Un-American Activities Committee, decided to seek exile in Great Britain. ...more


Born in Tehachapi, just outside of Los Angeles, and possessed of a rigorously formal architectural style, trained into him at the USC School of Architecture, John Francis Meehan went to work in Hans Dreier’s art department at Paramount, first as a draftsman and later as a unit art director, in the days when Dreier expected every designer there to do their own illustrations and working drawings as necessary. Meehan (the other designers called him “Frenchy,” for reasons that are lost to history) was one of the best, and remained, until his retirement, one of the last masters of Hollywood expressionism. ...more


William Cameron Menzies was born in New Haven, Connecticut, and educated at Yale and the Art Students League in New York City. He first worked creating advertising illustrations, children’s books, and magazine layouts. After WWI, his friend Anton Grot brought him to Fort Lee Studios in New Jersey and taught him the elements of motion picture design, including forced perspective and continuity sketching.

Menzies moved to Hollywood when Raoul Walsh invited him there to design The Deep Purple (1920) and The Oath (1921); but his career really broke through when he convinced Douglas Fairbanks to let him design The Thief of Bagdad (1924). ...more


Production designer, art director and illustrator Harold Michelson, one of the icons of the craft and a two-time Academy-Award® nominee, was born in New York in 1920. His first job after graduating high school was with the Bureau of Printing in Washington, D.C. During World War II, as a bombardier-navigator in the U.S. Army Air Corps, he flew more than forty missions over Germany and, following the war, became a magazine illustrator while studying at New York’s Arts Students League. He then worked in Chicago and Los Angeles illustrating movie posters. ...more

(1898 - 1968)

Van Nest Polglase was born in Brooklyn and educated in New York as an architect in the Beaux Arts tradition. He began his career at an architectural firm and, after spending a year in Cuba working on the Presidential Palace in Havana, turned in 1919 to the infant film industry.

Wiard Ihnen, Polglase’s former colleague at the architectural firm, asked him to join Famous Players-Lasky, and the studio soon sent him to Hollywood. The company became Paramount Pictures ...more


John Michael Riva was more than just a great production designer; he was the ultimate industry insider: his father a Broadway scenic designer, his mother an actress, his grandmother…Marlene Dietrich.

Born in Manhattan, one of four brothers (John Peter, John Michael, John David, and John Paul), to William Riva and Maria Elisabeth Sieber, a German-born actress, Mr. Riva prepared at the Institute Le Rosey in Switzerland for six years before attending UCLA ...more

(1941 - 1994)

Born in Porto Recanati, Italy, Ferdinando (“Nando”) Scarfiotti had just graduated from the University of Rome in architecture when he attracted the attention of director Luchino Visconti, who asked him to design his stage production of La Traviata for the 1963 Spoleto Festival.

Scarfiotti assisted Visconti for more than a decade, designing many of his operas and plays, including ...more

(1915 - 2003)

Jan Scott was one of America’s most renowned, honored, and respected television Production Designers. The winner of eleven Emmy Awards®, more than any woman in the history of television and more than any other Production Designer, she was nominated twenty-nine times in a career that spanned six decades. ...more


Edward S. Stephenson was a multiple Emmy®-winning production designer whose credits spanned five decades and included classic variety shows as well as sitcoms, television movies, and even the occasional feature film.
Born Edward Sheffield Stephenson in Algona, a small farming community in Iowa, he and his family moved to California when he was a child, settling in Glendale. He was a graduate of the Pasadena Playhouse College of the Theatre. From the late 1930s through the early 1940s Stephenson worked as a director, art director and producer for various playhouses and legitimate theaters across the United States. ...more


One of the greatest Art Directors of French cinema, Alexandre Trauner’s career spanned six decades and included some of that country’s finest films from the 1930s and 1940s, as well as many important films produced in this country.

Born in Hungary, Trauner studied at the Fine Art School of Budapest. Driven to quit his native country by his intense dislike for the Hungarian regime and its vicious anti-Semitism, Trauner emigrated to Paris in 1929 and fell immediately in love with that city’s creativity and artistic freedom. ...more


James Trittipo was born in Genoa, Ohio and attended high school in Dayton after his father retired as an interior decorator and opened a restaurant in the nearby town of Gambier. As a young man, Trittipo was always drawn to the theater. When he wasn’t accepted into the Yale Drama School, he studied theatrical design at Carnegie Tech and quickly became that school’s finest designer. After graduating, he moved to New York to design for the Broadway stage.

Like many young theater designers in the early 1950's, he discovered the new field of television. Jim hated inactivity and thrived on the breakneck pace of live television. He soon found himself working with two first-time directors, ...more


Born in Los Angeles, Walter H. Tyler was one of the most versatile and dependable unit art directors in the Paramount Studios art department for three decades under its supervising art director Hans Dreier, and later under Mr. Dreier’s successor Hal Pereira. From his first screen credit in 1944 on The Man In Half-Moon Street, to the closing of the art department in 1967-68, Mr. Tyler worked in whatever genre the studio assigned him, and became one of the most honored unit art directors in motion picture history.

His eight Oscar nominations for art direction are among the most ever ...more


Lyle Wheeler was born in Woburn, Massachusetts, and studied industrial design and architecture at USC. After his graduation, he worked alternately as an architect, and industrial designer and a magazine illustrator until Cedric Gibbons hired him as a sketch artist at MGM. He rose to the position of Assistant Art Director, but left MGM in 1935 to become an Art Director for David O. Selznick at his new studio. ...more

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