Oscar-winning set decorator Michael Ford, who worked on franchises including Star Wars, Bond and Indiana Jones, has died aged 90.
During a glittering career, Ford won Oscars for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration in 1982 for Raiders Of The Lost Ark and in 1998 for his work on Titanic. He also received Academy Award nominations for his work on Star Wars films The Empire Strikes Back and Return Of The Jedi.
Born in the UK, Ford’s career began in the 1960s. Early movie credits in the 1970s included comedies Up The Front and The Alf Garnett Saga while popular TV shows from the same decade included Space: 1999 and The New Avengers. In the 1980s he worked on movies such as The Living Daylights, six-time Oscar-winner Empire Of The Sun and Licence To Kill while in 1995 Ford worked on his third Bond title, GoldenEye. His final film was adventure sci-fi Wing Commander in 1999.
Oscar-winning production designer Peter Lamont (Titanic) said of Ford’s passing, “I’m so sorry to hear about the death of my friend and colleague Michael Ford, known affectionately as the ‘Flower Arranger’, who collaborated with me on seven productions (Consuming Passions, Living Daylights, Licence to Kill, The Taking of Beverley Hills, Golden Eye, Titanic and finally Wing Commander) from Mexico to Morocco, LA to Luxenberg and the UK.
“When we were on Titanic the producer said to me that he was worried about the costs of set decoration and I said, ‘Don’t worry, Michael is one of the most frugal (at work) with a budget that I know’. Three months later I was talking budget again with the producer, and he said to me, ‘You were right about your Flower Arranger, he is the only HOD who has done all we needed and still have budget left!’
“He was a very talented set decorator and artist. I never once saw him blow a fuse at work, he was a true gentleman and we will all miss him.”
Peter Walpole (Jason Bourne) of the British Film Designers Guild added, “Sad news to hear the passing of Michael Ford. As a production buyer and the an aspiring set decorator, I looked up to Michael with respect and awe. In addition to the productions he worked on with Peter Lamont, there was also, two of the first Star Wars films and of course Raiders of the Lost Ark. I concur with Peter, he was a true gentlemen. He will be sadly missed.”