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HomeCraftsArt DirectionEugene Lee, Award-Winning Production Designer for Saturday Night Live and Wicked, Dies...

Eugene Lee, Award-Winning Production Designer for Saturday Night Live and Wicked, Dies at 83


Award-winning Production Designer Eugene Lee, who was best known for his work on Saturday Night Live and the Broadway hit Wicked, has died. He was 83 years old.

Lee’s passing was announced earlier this month on Wicked‘s official Twitter account, and he was mourned on social media by many in the SNL family as well, having been with the late-night sketch series since its debut in 1975, as well as its many specials over the years.

Lee hailed from Wisconsin and held degrees from the Art Institute of Chicago, and Carnegie Mellon University, the Yale School of Drama, in addition to three honorary Ph.Ds that he received.

Prior to SNL, Lee served as the in-house set designer for Trinity Repertory Company in Providence, R.I., and he remained in that position for the rest of his life despite going on to achieve great things in the entertainment industry. He also worked on Broadway, where he designed sets for Sweeney Todd and Candide in addition to Wicked — all of which brought him Tonys. Lee was also the Scenic Designer for the original productions of Seussical and Merrily We Roll Along.

A six-time Emmy winner, Lee earned a total of 18 Emmy nominations over the course of his career, and he was awarded the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding Set Design three times, as well as the Lucille Lortel Award. Additionally, Lee was recently inducted into the New York Theater Hall of Fame. On the feature side, he worked with directors such as Oscar winners Francis Ford Coppola (Hammett) and Jonathan Demme (A Master Builder).

Clearly, Lee was an impressively talented artisan who was dedicated to his craft, never forgot his roots, and will be sorely missed by the creative community. He is survived by his wife, Brooke, and two sons.

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