Norm Newberry, who has worked on such films Avatar, War of the Worlds and The Polar Express, Jaws and The Sting along many TV shows, as is set to receive the Art Directors Guild’s Lifetime Achievement Award during the ADG Awards on January 27 at Hollywood & Highland.
Newberry has worked as a set designer, art director and production designed during a career that has spanned five decades. A motion-capture specialist who has embraced the cutting edge of digital technology, he has worked on films made that way including Polar Express, Beowulf, A Christmas Carol and the biggest of them all, Avatar. As virtual production art director, Newberry shared a 2010 ADG Award for Excellence in Production Design for the James Cameron 3D pic that remains the top-grossing movie of all time.
Starting in the mid-1970s, he worked as the art designer on multiple episodes of The Six Million Dollar Man, Logan Run and A Man Called Sloane. By the 1980s, he was focusing on film and served as art director for such films as the 1981 Mel Brooks comedy History of the World – Part I, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Mask, Monster House and Mars Needs Moms. His production designer credits include Ghost Story, Out of Bounds and Noises Off.
In 1987, Newberry was tapped for his “place making” film design expertise and began work as Executive Art Director for Universal Creative. He was a lead designer responsible for the planning and construction of Universal Studios theme parks and back-lot set streets. He continued designing theme parks across the globe and was an in-house consultant on planning projects at Universal Studios Hollywood and on projects in Barcelona, Paris, London and Singapore. He wrapped his 14 years at Universal Creative as the Creative Director for Universal Studios Japan.