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Subject: Set designer Henry May

D. C.
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Date Posted: November 17, 2002 7:13:47 EDT

Henry May, 81, an Emmy-nominated scenic designer for stage and television who collaborated with such well-known artists as Frank Lloyd Wright, Orson Welles and Leonard Bernstein, died Monday in a Washington, D.C., nursing home.

He had Alzheimer's disease, according to UC Berkeley, where he taught for many years.

May's sets were known for their clean style, symmetry and detail. He worked at such venues as Lincoln Center, Carnegie Hall and the New England Conservatory of Music. He also designed major theater and dance productions at UC Berkeley for 25 years, until his retirement in 1991.

Born in Havana and raised in New York City, he earned a bachelor's degree in landscape architecture in 1943 from the University of Illinois. After a roommate introduced him to theater, he began designing productions for the university and summer stock.

After serving in the Navy during World War II, he studied set design at Yale University.

He was nominated for an Emmy in 1957 for his artistic direction of "Boswell's Life of Johnson" on the variety show "Omnibus."

He also won a bronze medal at the Sixth Triennale of Theater Set and Costume Design in Yugoslavia in 1981 for his production of Shakespeare's "As You Like It." His other honors included a Guggenheim Foundation Award and a West Coast Theater Critic's Award for his design work on Noel Coward's "Tonight at 8:30."

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