Denis Olsen, who has worked on films such as Ghostbusters, Rocky 2 & 3, The Muppet Movie and Romancing the Stone, among others, is set to receive the Art Directors Guild’s Scenic, Title and Graphic Artists Lifetime Achievement Award during the ADG Awards on February 1 in Los Angeles. This is the second of four Lifetime Achievement Awards to be presented in each of the guild’s four crafts. Olsen joins previously announced Joe Alves, who will receive the ADG Lifetime Achievement Award from the Production Designers and Art Directors Council.
Olsen began his career as an Art Director at KCOP (Channel 13). He worked for various studios and other entertainment companies for more than 40 years including Superior Backings as a scenic and sign painter, The Walt Disney Studios in entertainment development, Warner Bros. Studios in their scenic department and J.C. Backings Corp. as the lead man on backdrops and special artwork for movies, television, theater and commercials. Olsen’s career also included countless productions at 20th Century Fox, MGM Studios, KNXT and CBS-TV.
In addition to the above-mentioned films, Olsen’s film credits include Mr. Mom, Star Trek 2 & 3, Johnny Dangerously and Poltergeist, among many others. His television work includes All in the Family, Soap, Three’s Company, One Day at a Time, The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Fame. In addition to his set work on the Emmys and the Oscars, Olsen worked on several television variety shows including The Carol Burnett Show, The Sonny & Cher Comedy Hour, The Smothers Bros. Show, Rowan & Martin’s Laugh-In and Cher. He also worked on projects for Disney World and Disneyland, Epcot, Tokyo Disneyland, Marineland, Universal Studios Tours and Six Flags Magic Mountain. Olsen is credited for creating some of the stunning Las Vegas show sets including the MGM Grand stage, Folies Bergère, David Copperfield and Siegfried & Roy.
Olsen was curator at the ADG’s Gallery 800 in North Hollywood, retiring in 2017.
“I am very fortunate to have known and worked with Denis for several decades. He is a wonderfully talented and very interesting man,” said Patrick DeGreves, Scenic, Title & Graphic Artists Council Chair.
The 2020 ADG Awards will be held Saturday, February 1 at the InterContinental Los Angeles Downtown.