Four-time Academy Award nominee for Art Direction and iconic production designer Robert F. Boyle died yesterday of natural causes after a 2-day stay in Cedars Sinai Hospital. He was 100. His work on North by Northwest, Gaily, Gaily, The Shootist, and Fiddler on the Roof and 86 other motion pictures earned him an Honorary Oscar in 2008. In 1997 Boyle was voted a Lifetime Achievement Award by the Art Directors Guild. In 2001 he was further honored with the Hollywood Production Designer of the Year Award by the Hollywood Film Festival. Recently he was given a tribute by the American Cinematheque and the Art Directors Guild with a screening at the Egyptian Theatre of two of his designed films, including The Wolf Man (1941). In 1973 he was nominated for an Emmy for The Red Pony. Among his other major motion picture credits as a production designer are The Birds, Winter Kills, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Private Benjamin, Portnoy’s Complaint, The Thomas Crown Affair, In Cold Blood, How To Succeed In Business Without Really Trying, The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming, and the original Cape Fear.
Boyle worked on numerous films for Alfred Hitchcock and Norman Jewison as well as for such other famed directors as Tom Mankiewicz, Penny Marshall, Joe Dante, Sylvester Stallone, Hal Ashby, Arthur Hiller and Don Siegel. Until he was hospitalized he was a Distinguished Lecturer at the American Film Institute Conservatory in the Institute’s production design department.
Boyle is the subject of Daniel Raim’s Oscar-nominated documentary, The Man On Lincoln’s Nose (2000). He also is a prominent subject in Raim’s newest documentary about Production Designers, Something’s Gonna Live, that includes participation by three other deceased production designers, Henry Bumstead, Albert Nozaki and Harold Michelson.
The native angeleno was a graduate of the School of Architecture of the University of Southern California in 1933 and began his art direction career that year at Paramount Studios. He moved to Universal Studios where in 1941 Hitchcock chose him to be the art director on his Saboteur film. He served as a member of the Board of Governors of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences for nine years and was a two-term president of the Art Directors Guild.