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Subject: ARCHIVE: July 26, 1960 ~Cedric Gibbons, famed Hollywood film art director and production designer, nominated 39 times for the Academy Award for Best Production Design, earning the coveted Oscar 11 times, both of which are records, for films like "The Wizard of Oz" (1939), "Gaslight" (1944), "An American in Paris" (1951), and "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952), dies at 67. ...

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Date Posted: Friday, July 26, 12:34:41pm

Cedric Gibbons
[ Austin Cedric Gibbons ]
(March 23, 1893 – July 26, 1960)

Irish-American Hollywood film art director and production designer for the film industry, who 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. He was nominated 39 times for the Academy Award for Best Production Design and earn the Oscar 11 times, both of which are records.

Early life and career …
Cedric Gibbons was born in New York City in 1890 or 1893 (although he claimed that he was born in Dublin, Ireland) to architect Austin P. Gibbons and Veronica Fitzpatrick Simmons. The couple moved from the Brooklyn borough to New York City after the birth of their third child and Cedric 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, but then served in the US Navy during World War I.

...He was later poached by Sam Goldwyn, becoming art director of Goldwyn Studios at the age of 25. He kept the post in 1924 – when Goldwyn Studios merged with Metro Pictures Corporation and Louis B Mayer Pictures – to become the head art director for what would become MGM. 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).

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. …

...Gibbons was tasked with designing the Oscar statuette: he came up with a gold-plated knight clutching a crusader’s sword. Dolores Del Rio recommended to Gibbons he use Mexican actor Emilio Fernández (aka "El Indio") as the model for the statue. According to the legend, Gibbons in need of a model for his statuette, was introduced by his future wife, actress Dolores del Río, to Fernández (likely one of her lovers). Reportedly, Fernández had to be persuaded to pose nude for what is today known as the "Oscar". And the rest is history. Aside from a short period during WWII when gold was replaced with plaster due to shortages, Gibbons’s design and composition has essentially remained the same for more than eight decades.

A trophy for which he himself would be nominated 38 times, earning 11. Despite all his talents there were, and still are, murmurs about his work. At retirement, he had 1,500 film credits to his name – it would be impossible for him to have single-handedly done them all. His contract stipulated he be named as the head of design on every MGM film and the bulk of his work may have been overseeing. His actual output has been estimated at about 150 or so films. Even so, his actual hands-on art direction is considerable and his contributions lasting.

Personal life and death …
In 1928, he met Mexican star Dolores del Río on the set of The Trail of ‘98. …

...She was going through a messy divorce from Jaime del Río and extricating herself from her controlling manager and lover, Edwin Carewe. Gibbons bided his time, waiting until July 1930 to see her again. He asked his friends William Randolph Hearst and Marion Davies to introduce them at a garden party at Hearst’s palatial estate. By the end of the month, they were engaged. The fast engagement was convenient: del Río had just been named in a divorce lawsuit. Nevertheless, a real sense of affection was palpable between Gibbons and his bride. The couple were married on August 6th, 1930.

Gibbons co-designed their honeymoon house in Santa Monica,
an intricate Art Deco residence influenced by Rudolf Schindler. …

The marriage was less than stellar. Del Río had a habit of forming relationships with detail-oriented, possessive men, and, although Gibbons was not using her star to further his own, his borderline obsessive nature may have been a strain. Perhaps apocryphally, he has been quoted as saying, “When I find things I like, I see no reason to change them. Except women.” They divorced in 1941. By then, they had been living apart, and del Río was having an affair with Orson Welles.

By 1944, the 50 year old Gibbons married 19-year-old actress Hazel Brooks, who remained his wife until his death on July 26, 1960,
when Gibbons died in Los Angeles at age 67, and was buried under a modest marker, at the Calvary Cemetery, East Los Angeles.
Dorothy Kilgallen, journalist and gossip columnist, also friend of his second wife, reported his age as 65 at the time of his death. …

Legacy …
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.

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. …

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.
In February 2005 Gibbons was inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame.

Links …

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Subject Author Date
His niece Veronica Gibbons married Gary Cooper (NT).Friday, July 26, 04:25:18pm

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