Four-time Emmy-nominated production designer and art director Herman Zimmerman will receive the Art Directors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award at the guild’s 17th Annual Excellence in Production Design Awards, scheduled for Feb. 2 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.
For the first time, the guild’s honorary Lifetime Achievement award will be designed by DesignworksUSA, a subsidiary of show sponsor the BMW Group. A BMW Design chief executive will present the award to Zimmerman at ADG’s black-tie awards ceremony.
“Herman’s many achievements are an inspiration to us all,” said Thomas Walsh, ADG chairman. “Just like the many voyages of the star ship Enterprise, throughout his career he has boldly gone to and excelled at furthering his commitment to design excellence within many disparate forms of our profession. Whether it was for features, television, cable, exhibition or themed architecture, Herman has done it all and with great style, passion and perfection.”
Previous recipients of the ADG Lifetime Achievement Award include production designers Ken Adam, Robert Boyle, Albert Brenner, Henry Bumstead, Roy Christopher, Stuart Craig, Bill Creber, John Mansbridge, Terence Marsh, Harold Michelson, Jan Scott, Paul Sylbert, Dean Tavoularis and Tony Walton.
Best known for his work on the Star Trek franchise, Zimmerman began his career in 1965 working for NBC as assistant art director on Days of Our Lives. He worked on more than 35 television series and theatrical films throughout his 47 years in the industry. He originally aspired to be an actor, having studied acting and directing at Northwestern University. He changed his major to theater production and ultimately became an associate professor of drama at Northwestern where he was a technical director and scene designer for the campus theater and the Evanston Children’s Theatre.
Joining the Paramount Pictures’ Star Trek franchise as production designer and original set designer in 1987 with Star Trek: The Next Generation (1988-1994), Zimmerman also worked on six of the Star Trek feature films: Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989), Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country (1991), Star Trek: Generations (1994), Star Trek: First Contact (1996), Star Trek: Insurrection (1998), Star Trek: Nemesis (2002), as well as the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine (1993-1999) and Star Trek: Enterprise (2001-2002) TV series. He wrote the introduction for the 1995 reference book The Art of Star Trek, and co-wrote the 1998 reference book Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Technical Manual, as well as being featured as himself in many Star Trek documentaries.
Zimmerman’s work with various Star Trek projects earned him the excellence in production design award for television at the first annual Art Directors Guild Awards in 1997 for Deep Space Nine, as well as four Emmy nominations for outstanding art direction for a series in 1993, 1997, 1998 and 1999. Even though he also produced and directed numerous TV commercials, Zimmermans work was not limited solely to TV and film. He worked alongside the Paramount Parks Design and Entertainment team when they acquired the five Great America theme parks. He was the consulting designer on the multi-million dollar Star Trek Experience at the Las Vegas Hilton, and had side projects that included being the entertainment manager of a casino in Reno, Nev., the owner of a scenic studio and construction shop, and also collaborating on a real-life holodeck with the Institute for Creative Technologies; a collaboration between the U.S. Army, USC and Hollywood, creating virtual reality in real time for education.
His many other credits include: Happy Days (1984), Cheers (1983-1986), Land of the Lost (1974-1976), Joanie Loves Chachi (1982), A Rumor of War (1980), The Ellen Burstyn Show (1986), The Burning Bed (1984), Brothers (1984-1986), All I Want for Christmas (1991), One Crazy Summer (1986), Black Rain (1989), Better Off Dead… (1985) and Webster (1985-1988).
Nominations for this year’s ADG Awards excellence in production design awards will be announced on Jan. 3. The ADG will present winners in nine competitive categories for theatrical films, television productions, commercials and music videos Feb. 2. Paula Poundstone will host this year’s ADG Awards for the fourth consecutive year. Greg Grande and Raf Lydon are producing the event.