Oscar-nominated art director and production designer Bill Creber died in Los Angeles March 7 of complications from pneumonia after a prolonged illness, Deadline has learned. He was 87.
A Los Angeles native, William “Bill” Creber is best known for his work with the original Planet of the Apes franchise including the original 1968 film starring Charlton Heston as well as Beneath the Planet of the Apes (1970) and Escape from the Planet of the Apes (1971).
He received his first Academy Award nomination for Best Art Direction for the 1965 film The Greatest Story Ever Told. This was followed by two more Oscar nods for his work on two iconic Hollywood films: The Poseidon Adventure (1972) and The Towering Inferno (1974). He also received a BAFTA nomination for the latter action pic which starred Steve McQueen and was directed by John Guillermin.
He was nominated for a Primetime Emmy in 1964 for Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and was honored with an Art Directors Guild Lifetime Achievement Award in 2005. His other credits include Islands in the Stream, Any Which Way You Can, Flight of the Navigator and the TV series Mod Squad. His last credit was for 2001’s The Last Brickmaker in America.
“This was the man who designed and then flipped cruise ships, burned skyscrapers, and created an entire ape culture,” said Nelson Coates, president of the Art Directors Guild (ADG, IATSE Local 800) in a statement. “Though his last feature was 21 years ago, Bill Creber remained a vital influence in the industry, with his institutional memory, sharing of relevant production solutions, and his amazing skills devising, executing, and teaching incredible methods of in-camera visual fx.”
Creber is survived by his wife Sally Queen, his daughter Carolyn Karges and son Ken Creber, himself an Emmy-winning art director.