The Art Directors Guild has announced three recipients for its 2016 Lifetime Achievement Award. William J. Newmon II, Hollywood’s first African-American set designer, will be honored along with Oscar-nominated matte artist Harrison Ellenshaw and scenic artist Bill Anderson.
They will receive the guild’s highest honor receive at the 20th annual Excellence in Production Design Awards gala on January 31 at the Beverly Hilton. Comedian Owen Benjamin returns as host.
Newmon joined IATSE Set Designers and Model Makers Local 847 in 1975 and went on to serve three terms as the local’s VP. Starting his career at NBC as a stock scenery draftsman, he later was hired at Disney to set design The Apple Dumpling Gang and The Shaggy D.A. His other film credits include 1982’s Poltergeist, Big Top Pee-Wee, The Meteor Man and Deep Rising. Newmon’s many TV credits include Starsky and Hutch, Little House on the Prairie, MacGyver, Murder She Wrote, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, 7th Heaven and The Wayans Bros. He retired in 2000.
Ellenshaw, who produced many of the matte visual effects background for Star Wars and The Empire Strikes Back at George Lucas’ Industrial Light + Magic, was Oscar-nominated along with his father, Peter Ellenshaw, for the visual effects for The Black Hole. In 1982, the younger Ellenshaw became the first visual effects supervisor to be credited in a film for Tron. He also produced the visual effects for Ghost, Dick Tracy, Superman IV: The Quest for Peace and Francis Ford Coppola’s short Captain EO, starring Michael Jackson. Ellenshaw headed Walt Disney Studios’ Buena Vista Visual Effects department from 1990-96, overseeing 63 films.
Anderson’s backgrounds and mural artistry can be seen in films such as Cleopatra, The Sound of Music, Beneath the Planet of the Apes, Fantastic Voyage and Hello, Dolly! Beginning his career at famed scenery company J.C. Backings, he went on to serve as president of IATSE Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists Local 816. His work also has been featured at Disneyland, Disney’s Epcot Center, Tokyo Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure.
As previously reported, a Lifetime Achievement Award also will be presented Oscar-winning production designer Patrizia von Brandenstein. The awards will be presented at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on Jan. 31.