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Ken Adams knighted


Academy Exhibition’s Principal Knighted by Queen Elizabeth

Beverly Hills, CA -Ken Adam, the production designer whose work is featured in the current exhibition at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, has earned five Academy Award(R) nominations and taken home two Oscar(R) statuettes in the Art Direction category. He’s now been knighted as well by Queen Elizabeth.

Work such as that on display in “‘Moonraker,’ ‘Strangelove’ and Other Celluloid Dreams: the Visionary Art of Ken Adam” earned Adam the rank of Knight Bachelor and the honorific of Sir Kenneth in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours on June 14.

Sir Kenneth’s award was among those made to British citizens working in an overseas capacity and was presented “for services to film production design and to UK-German relations.”

The exhibition, installed in both the Grand Lobby and Fourth Floor Galleries of the Academy, includes original production design sketches, models and large format set photographs. It will continue at the Academy through August 17.

Born Klaus Adam in Berlin in 1921 and emigrating to England in 1934, Adam studied architecture at University College London and served a stint as an RAF fighter pilot in World War II. He began his film career in 1947 as a draftsman and rapidly graduated to the title of art director. In 1956, he earned his first Academy Award nomination for that year’s Best Picture winner “Around the World in 80 Days.”

His designs, influenced by his background in architecture, have resulted in some of the most stylistically unique and memorable film sets of the last five decades. The war room from “Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb,” the interior of Fort Knox in “Goldfinger” (1964), and the gadgetry and intimidating interiors of several other films in the James Bond series are but a few examples of the work for which he is admired. (Adam earned his third Academy Award nomination for the 1977 Bond feature, “The Spy Who Loved Me.”) Throughout his assignments on the Bond films, Adam has been additionally responsible for the designs of the vehicles that are so integral to the films’ plot lines.

In contrast to the clean modernism of the above-mentioned work, Adam has also designed lush period decor, efforts which have resulted in his winning two Academy Awards, for “Barry Lyndon” in 1975 and for “The Madness of King George” in 1994. The macabre world he designed for “Addams Family Values” (1993) was nominated as well. The film adaptation of the two-character stage play “Sleuth” (1972) and the ambitious period musical “Pennies from Heaven” (1981) are also among his credits.

Gallery viewing hours for “‘Moonraker,’ ‘Strangelove’ and Other Celluloid Dreams: the Visionary Art of Ken Adam” are Tuesdays through Fridays, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., and weekends, noon to 6 p.m. The Academy is located at 8949 Wilshire Boulevard in Beverly Hills. For more information, call 310-247-3600.

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