If you know of the location, or are in possession of any of the original drawings, illustrations or paintings created by John DeCuir Sr., we would appreciate the chance to digitize, catalogue and donate a high resolution copy to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Library and the Art Director's guild. Any information pertaining to the above will be greatly appreciated. Please email

Hollywood's Michaelangelo

Hollywood's Michaelangelo


JOHN DECUIR, SR. (1918-1991) is best known for elaborate set designs that were illustrated with amazing watercolor paintings. He began his career in 1938 at 20 when he joined Universal, where he remained until 1949. He then moved to 20th Century Fox where he specialized in large-scale productions. He was one of the first Art Directors to work with Cinemascope. He won Academy Awards' for Art Direction for the films The King and I (1956), Cleopatra (1963) and Hello, Dolly!(1969). Other films for which he received nominations were The House On Telegraph Hill (1951), The Snows of Kilimanjaro (1952), My Cousin Rachel (1952), Daddy Long Legs (1955), A Certain Smile(1958), The Big Fisherman (1959), The Agony and the Ecstasy (1965) and The Taming of the Shrew(1967). He also received a BAFTA nomination for Hello Dolly. He won an Emmy for his sole television film, Ziegfield: The Man and His Woman (1978). DeCuir also designed theme parks and museums, stage plays and operas, both in the U.S. and Europe. He was the pre-eminent designer of his generation.

Thursday, February 4, 2010


I was 6 years old when my dad took me to Universal Studios where he had designed the sets for BRUTE FORCE. I remember getting the grand tour of the Art Department. Then came the stage and that incredible penitentiary gate and watch tower. That did it I was imprisoned for life, in film design.