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Art Directors Guild to Induct Three Production Designers Into Its Hall Of Fame

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LR-HOF 2-emailLR-HOF 2Production designers John Gabriel Beckman, Charles Lisanby and Walter Tyler will be posthumously inducted into the Art Directors Guild’s Hall of Fame at the 19th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards ceremony, Jan 31 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

“Beckman, Lisanby and Tyler join an honored and distinguished group of ADG Hall of Famers, whose collective work parallels the best of motion picture and television production design,” said ADG council chairman John Shaffner. “Their enduring legacy and accomplished mastery of our profession are most worthy, influential, inspiring and welcomed additions.”

John Gabriel Beckman (1898-1989)

Beckman was an architect prior to becoming a set designer, art director, production designer and muralist. He worked behind the scenes for almost a decade before receiving his first screen credit as an art director for Charlie Chaplin’s 1947 black comedy Monsieur Verdoux. Some of Beckman’s elaborate murals were created for movie palaces such as Grauman’s Chinese and Egyptian theatres, in addition to the Avalon Ballroom in Catalina.

Beckman worked in film and television from 1934 to 1989, much of that time at Warner Bros. He worked on such films as Gypsy (1962), Home Before Dark (1958), Calamity Jane (1953) and By the Light of the Silvery Moon (1953). His film designs also included the iconic films Casablanca (1942), Lost Horizon (1927) and Les Miserables (1935). In 1970, Beckman switched to designing sets for television, and was known for his work on such notable television shows as Designing Women (1986-89), Nero Wolfe (1981), Tabitha (1977-78), The Partridge Family (1973-74) and Profiles in Courage (1964-65).

Charles Lisanby (1924-2013)

Throughout his 50-year-career, Lisanby was arguably one of the most influential scenic designers in history. He is an 11-time nominee and three-time Emmy Award winner and is the only art director enshrined in the Television Academy’s Hall of Fame. He started his television career after being noticed for painting a mural for the New York headquarters of the famous Friars Club. Over the next 30 years, he worked for CBS, ABC and NBC. His influence in early television includes mastering the use of neon lighting for shows, pioneering the use of lighted steps as a feature of variety and awards shows and creating monumental set pieces with large block letters that actors could sit on as part of a set. He served as art director for telecasts of the Academy Awards, the Emmys and the first MTV Video Music Awards in 1984. Lisanby was known for designing The Garry Moore Show, as well as variety shows for such well-known stars as Barbara Streisand, Judy Garland, Mitzi Gaynor, Diana Ross and Dolly Parton. Lisanby’s primetime Emmy wins were for Barry Manilow: Big Fun on Swing Street (1988), Baryshnikov on Broadway (1980) and The Lives of Benjamin Franklin (1975). He also worked on such Broadway productions as 1951’s Romeo and Juliet and a Tony Award-winning 1956 production of My Fair Lady. In 2010 Lisanby donated his life’s work to James Madison University.

Walter H. Tyler (1909-1990)

Tyler was an Oscar-winning art director and production designer. During his career he worked on numerous cinematic blockbusters and television epics. He won an Academy Award for best art direction-set decoration, color, for Samson and Delilah (1951), produced and directed by Cecil B. DeMille. In addition, Tyler received eight Oscar nominations as an art director for films including The Island at the Top of the World (1975), Summer and Smoke (1962), Visit to a Small Planet (1961), Career (1959), The Ten Commandments (1957), Sabrina (1955), Roman Holiday (1954) and Kitty (1947).Tyler’s legendary art direction footprint can also be seen in True Grit (1969), The Odd Couple (1968), Barefoot in the Park (1967), The Carpetbaggers (1964), The Nutty Professor (1963), Gunfight at the O.K. Corral (1957), Shane (1953), The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) and A Place in the Sun (1951). Besides his cinematic awards, Tyler was nominated for a Primetime Emmy for The Execution of Private Slovik.

Nominations for the Excellence in Production Design Awards will be announced on Jan. 5. The ADG will present winners in 11 competitive categories for theatrical films, television productions, commercials and music videos on awards night, Jan. 31, hosted by comedian Owen Benjamin.

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