For fifty years, René Lagler has designed the great public events of our lives. Many broadcast production designers have been responsible for important television programs, but none have been called on the way Mr. Lagler has to create environments for historic moments that define our culture and who we are as a people.
The 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles were the first televised summer games held on American soil. Peter Uberroth’s organizing committee hired David Wolper to produce the opening and closing ceremonies, and David Wolper hired Mr. Lagler to fill the Los Angeles Coliseum with grand pianos and stage the Oklahoma land rush. It was just the beginning of a long list of national events he would design. Liberty Weekend in 1986 celebrated the 100th anniversary of the Statue of Liberty, for which Mr. Lagler received an Emmy. The 50th anniversary of Mount Rushmore, We the People 2000 in Philadelphia to celebrate the new millennium, and year after year the Capitol Concerts for Memorial Day and the Fourth of July on the lawn of the Washington D.C. mall.
He designed the Democratic National Conventions in Atlanta in 1988, New York in 1992, Chicago in 1996 and Los Angeles in 2000, as well as two Presidential Inaugural Galas in 1993 and 1997. Similar projects include Inaugurals for Governor Rendell of Pennsylvania and the National Teamster Conventions of 2002 and 2007. In 2005, he designed the 16,038-seat Lakewood Church in Houston, and has since designed thirteen additional church projects around the country. Every time the Pope has visited the United States, Mr. Lagler has been chosen to design the venues for his speeches and huge outdoor gatherings, including Pope John Paul's Masses in Central Park and Yankee Stadium, and the visit of Pope Francis to Philadelphia in 2015.
He redesigned the immense newsroom studio for CNN in Atlanta, as well as CNN studios and shows in New York, Los Angeles and Washington. The Three Tenors at Dodger Stadium and the Three Tenors: World Cup in Paris at the Eiffel Tower were both performed on his sets. He designed television celebrations for three separate 50th Anniversary of Israel shows, and the 50th Anniversary of NATO in 1999.
Mr. Lagler was born in Zurich, Switzerland and attended Hollywood High School and Art Center College of Design in Los Angeles. Shortly after graduating from Art Center, he was hired by Production Designer E. Jay Krause in a temporary position, helping to design the Standard Oil of California Petroleum Museum in San Francisco. Mr. Krause became his close friend and mentor and the two stayed together for seven years. When Mr. Lagler stepped out on his own, important television specials and series began rolling in. He designed shows for Barbara Streisand, Frank Sinatra, George Burns, Billy Crystal, Julie Andrews, Bobby Darin, Carol Burnett, Glen Campbell, Dolly Parton, Barry Manilow, Tony Orlando, and Neil Diamond. Awards shows, too: the 57th Academy Awards for which he won an Emmy; the Grammy Awards from 1983 to 1987; the Emmy Awards; and sixteen years of the County Music Awards from 1991 to 2006.
He was exposed to daytime programming working for Mr. Krause on Hollywood Squares and went on to design many of his own, including Dinah Shore and The View. He's also designed retail establishments such as Porsche Design in Beverly Hills and Villa Real at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas.
René Lagler lives in Lake Arrowhead, CA with his wife, actress/singer/songwriter and author Gloria Loring. He has earned five Emmy Awards and sixteen nominations while designing more than 2500 television shows during his half-century as a member of the Art Directors Guild. So many of the nation’s high-profile events have borne, and continue to bear, Mr. Lagler’s singular crisp and stylish look, that this honor recognizes him both for his contributions to design and to our nation’s history as well.