Cedric Gibbons

Austin Cedric Gibbons (March 23, 1890[1] [2]– July 26, 1960) was an American art director and production designer for the film industry. He also made a significant contribution to motion picture theater architecture from the 1930s to 1950s. Gibbons designed the Oscar statuette in 1928, but tasked the sculpting to George Stanley, a Los Angeles artist.[3][4] He was nominated 38 times for the Academy Award for Best Production Design and won the Oscar 11 times.[5]

Cedric Gibbons
Cedric Gibbons in 1936
Austin Cedric Gibbons

March 23, 1890
DiedJuly 26, 1960 (aged 70)
Resting placeCalvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles
OccupationArt director, set decorator
Years active1919 – 1956
Dolores del Rio
(m. 1930; div. 1941)

Hazel Brooks
(m. 1944)
RelativesVeronica Cooper (niece)


Tarzan his mate poster
In addition to his credits as set decorator and art director, Cedric Gibbons is credited for directing one feature film, Tarzan and His Mate (1934)

Austin Cedric Gibbons was born in New York City[1][2] to architect Austin P. Gibbons and Veronica Fitzpatrick Simmons. He was privately tutored and studied at the Art Students League of New York. In 1911 he began working in his father's office as a junior draftsman. Art director at Edison Studios in New Jersey from 1915, he served in the US Navy during World War I. He then joined Goldwyn Studios, and began a long career with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1924, when the studio was founded.[6]

Gibbons was one of the original 36 founding members of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and designed the Academy Awards statuette in 1928.[4] A trophy for which he himself would be nominated 38 times, winning 11.

He retired from MGM as director and the head of the art department in 1956 with about 1,500 films credited to him; however, this number is thought to be exaggerated when other designers may have done the bulk of the work. Even so, his actual hands-on art direction is considerable and his contributions lasting.[7][8]

Personal life and death

In 1930, Gibbons married actress Dolores del Río and co-designed their house in Santa Monica, an intricate Art Deco residence influenced by Rudolf Schindler. They divorced in 1941; three years later[9] he married actress Hazel Brooks, with whom he remained until his death.

Gibbons' second cousin Frederick Gibbons—a musician, orchestra conductor, and entertainer who worked with him at MGM—was the father of Billy Gibbons of the rock band ZZ Top.

On July 26, 1960, Gibbons died in Los Angeles at age 70. He is buried in the Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles.


Gibbons' set designs, particularly those in such films as Born to Dance (1936) and Rosalie (1937), heavily inspired motion picture theater architecture in the late 1930s through 1950s. The style is found very clearly in the theaters that were managed by the Skouras brothers, whose designer Carl G. Moeller used the sweeping scroll-like details in his creations. Among the more classic examples are the Loma Theater in San Diego, The Crest theaters in Long Beach and Fresno, and the Culver Theater in Culver City, all of which are in California and some extant. The style is sometimes referred to as Art Deco and Art Moderne. The iconic Oscar statuettes that Gibbons designed, which were first awarded in 1929, are still being presented to winners at Academy Awards ceremonies each year.

Academy Awards

Awards for Art Direction

Nominations for Art Direction

See also


  • "Cedric Gibbons Architect of Style", LA Modernism catalog, May 2006, pp. 16–17 by Jeffrey Head


  1. ^ a b "Ancestry.com".
  2. ^ a b "Ancestry.com".
  3. ^ Nichols, Chris (2016-02-25). "Meet George Stanley, Sculptor of the Academy Award Los Angeles Magazine". Los Angeles Magazine. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  4. ^ a b "Oscar Statuette". Oscars.org | Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 2014-07-25. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  5. ^ "Nominee Facts - Most Nominations and Awards" Archived 2016-04-25 at WebCite, Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences; retrieved November 29, 2015.
  6. ^ "Cedric Gibbons, M-G-M Artist, 65". The New York Times. July 27, 1960. Retrieved 2017-12-02.
  7. ^ Stephens, Michael L. (2015-09-02). Art Directors in Cinema: A Worldwide Biographical Dictionary. McFarland. ISBN 9781476611280.
  8. ^ Nast, Condé. "The Architectural Digest Greenroom at the 2013 Oscars". Architectural Digest. Retrieved 2019-01-22.
  9. ^ "Glamour Girls of the Silver Screen". Retrieved 2013-07-05.

External links

Academy Award for Best Production Design

The Academy Award for Best Production Design recognizes achievement for art direction in film. The category's original name was Best Art Direction, but was changed to its current name in 2012 for the 85th Academy Awards. This change resulted from the Art Director's branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) being renamed the Designer's branch. Since 1947, the award is shared with the set decorator(s). It is awarded to the best interior design in a film.The films below are listed with their production year (for example, the 2000 Academy Award for Best Art Direction is given to a film from 1999). In the lists below, the winner of the award for each year is shown first, followed by the other nominees.

Alexander Golitzen

Prince Alexander Golitzen (Golitsyn), (Moscow, February 28, 1908 – San Diego, July 26, 2005) was Russian born production designer who oversaw art direction on more than 300 movies.

Born in Moscow in the princely Golitsyn family, Alexander Golitzen fled the country with his parents during the Russian Revolution. Travelling via Siberia and China, they arrived in Seattle, where Alexander graduated from high school. He then attended the University of Washington, where he achieved a degree in architecture.

He started his art direction career in Los Angeles, as an assistant to Alexander Toluboff, an art director for MGM. He started working with Walter Wanger (a producer) in 1939 and they worked together for many movies. Starting in 1942, and continuing for the next 30 years, he became a unit art director, and later a supervising art director at Universal, overseeing dozens of productions.

Alexander Golitzen earned an Oscar nomination for Foreign Correspondent (1940), and received three Oscars for Phantom of the Opera in 1943, Spartacus in 1960 and To Kill a Mockingbird in 1962.

He was also nominated for an Academy Award for his work on Sundown (1941), Arabian Nights (1942), The Climax (1944), Flower Drum Song (1961), That Touch of Mink (1962), Gambit (1966), Thoroughly Modern Millie (1967), Sweet Charity (1969), Airport (1970), and Earthquake (1974). He served on the Academy's board of directors for several years.

Alexander was married for 72 years to Frances, née Peters, who survived him. They had a daughter Cynthia, a son Peter, five grandchildren and a great-granddaughter.

Anna Pinnock

Anna Pinnock is a set decorator. She has been nominated six times for an Academy Award for Art Direction or Production Design:

Gosford Park (2001) – Nominated

The Golden Compass (2007) – Nominated

Life of Pi (2012) – Nominated

The Grand Budapest Hotel (2014) – Winner

Into the Woods (2014) – Nominated

Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them (2016) – NominatedPinnock has worked on three James Bond films: Quantum of Solace, Skyfall, and Spectre.

Edward Stewart (set decorator)

Edward Stewart (January 20, 1915 – August 30, 1999) was an American set decorator. He won an Academy Award and was nominated for another in the category Best Art Direction.

Francesca Lo Schiavo

Francesca Lo Schiavo (Italian pronunciation: [franˈtʃeska lo ˈskjaːvo]; born 11 January 1948) is an Italian set decorator.

Married to Dante Ferretti, a fellow art director, she has been nominated for an Academy Award seven times, winning three of them. The movies which she has been nominated for are:

The Adventures of Baron Munchausen (1989), Nominated.

Hamlet (1990), Nominated.

Interview with the Vampire (1994), Nominated.

Kundun (1997), Nominated.

Gangs of New York (2002), Nominated.

The Aviator (2004), Won.

Sweeney Todd: The Demon Barber of Fleet Street (2007), Won.

Hugo (2011), Won.All the above-mentioned films were nominated for the Academy Award for Best Art Direction.

George James Hopkins

George James Hopkins (March 23, 1896 – February 11, 1985) was an American set designer, playwright and production designer.

A native of Pasadena, California, Hopkins got his start designing scenery on stage after studying design in college. He moved to films in 1917, working as an art director for various studios. During his long career, Hopkins was nominated for thirteen Academy Awards and won four.

Gordon Wiles

Gordon Wiles (October 10, 1904 – October 17, 1950) was an American art director and film director. He won an Oscar for Best Art Direction for the film Transatlantic. He was born in St. Louis, Missouri. His father, Albert Wiles, was a doctor in Jerseyville, Illinois.

Harry Horner

Harry Horner (July 24, 1910 - December 5, 1994) was an Austro-Hungarian-born American art director who made a successful career in Hollywood as an Oscar-winning art director and as a feature film and television director.

Hugh Hunt

Hugh Hunt (March 8, 1902 – September 1, 1988) was an American set decorator. He won two Academy Awards and was nominated for eleven more in the category Best Art Direction.

Jim Erickson

James Erickson (born about 1951) is an American-Canadian set decorator. He won the Academy Award for Best Production Design for his work in Lincoln, and was nominated for There Will Be Blood. He has also done set decoration for Ali and Independence Day.

John DeCuir

John DeCuir (June 4, 1918 – October 29, 1991) was a Hollywood art director and production designer known for his elaborate set designs that were illustrated with his own watercolor paintings.He studied at the Chouinard Art School, joined Universal in the late 1930s, and by the mid-1940s was designing sets. In 1949, he signed with 20th Century Fox where he worked on productions noted for their elaborate sets. At home with dramatic material (such as The House on Telegraph Hill 1951), musicals (such as There's No Business Like Show Business 1954), and comedy (Ghostbusters 1984) DeCuir earned eleven Oscar nominations, winning three: The King and I (1956), Cleopatra (1963), and Hello, Dolly! (1969).

His son, John DeCuir Jr. is also a production designer.

Leslie Dilley

Leslie Dilley (born 11 January 1941) is a Welsh production designer and art director. He has won two Academy Awards and has been nominated for three more in the category Best Art Direction.

Lyle R. Wheeler

Lyle Reynolds Wheeler (February 2, 1905 – January 10, 1990) was an American motion picture art director. He received five Academy Awards — for Gone with the Wind (1939), Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Robe (1953), The King and I (1956) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959).

Norman Reynolds

Norman Reynolds (born 26 March 1934 in London, England) is a British production designer and film director, best known for his work on the original Star Wars trilogy and Raiders of the Lost Ark.

He directed two episodes of the Emmy Award winning Amazing Stories TV series, "The Pumpkin Competition" and "Gather Ye Acorns". He was a second unit director for Alive and The Exorcist III.

Ray Moyer

Ray Moyer (February 21, 1898 – February 6, 1986) was an American set decorator. He won three Academy Awards and was nominated for nine more in the category Best Art Direction. He was born in Santa Barbara, California and died in Los Angeles, California.

Rick Simpson

Rick Simpson is an American set decorator. He won an Academy Award and was nominated for another in the category Best Art Direction.

Samuel M. Comer

Samuel M. Comer (July 13, 1893 – December 27, 1974) was a set decorator who worked on over 300 films during a career spanning four decades. He won four Academy Awards and was nominated for another 22 in the category Best Art Direction.He guided his niece, Anjanette Comer into "the biz."

Stuart A. Reiss

Stuart A. Reiss (July 15, 1921 – December 21, 2014) was an American set decorator. He won two Academy Awards and was nominated for four more in the category Best Art Direction. He worked on more than 100 films from 1947 to 1986.

Terence Marsh

Terence Marsh (14 November 1931 – 9 January 2018) was a British production designer. He won two Academy Awards and was nominated for another two in the category of Best Art Direction.

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