Gene Callahan (production designer)

Gene Callahan (—December 261990) was an Oscar-winning American art director, set and production designer who contributed to over fifty films and more than a thousand TV episodes.

Gene Callahan had a lifelong association with the state of Louisiana. He kept a home in the capital, Baton Rouge, where he began his designing career in the 1940s as a student at Louisiana State University, and his film assignment was as production designer on "Steel Magnolias", lensed in Natchitoches, Louisiana in 1989.

Callahan was a prolific contributor to television, starting with the first full-schedule broadcast season in 1948-49. He worked on numerous live shows during the Golden Age of Television and on filmed episodes in the late 1950s and early 60s. His first film as set decorator was 1959's "The Fugitive Kind", and his fourth assignment, 1961's black-and white "The Hustler" brought him his first Academy Award. 1964 was a banner year for him with two Oscar nominations—"The Cardinal" in the color category, and "America, America" in the category for black-and-white films, with the latter winning him his second Oscar. Unlike the 1962 win for "The Hustler", which he shared with production designer Harry Horner or his other 1964 nomination for "The Cardinal", shared with production designer Lyle Wheeler, the Award for "America, America", was his alone. Elia Kazan's acclaimed epic set in turn-of-the-century Greece and Turkey was nominated for Best Picture and Best Director, but it was Callahan's epic production values that won the film's only Oscar.

Thirteen years later, in 1977, there was one more Oscar nomination for Gene Callahan. "The Last Tycoon", Elia Kazan's final directorial effort assigned Callahan the task of recreating F. Scott Fitzgerald's image of 1920s Hollywood and its driven, doomed protagonist, an Irving Thalberg-like movie producer. The nomination (shared with art director Jack T. Collis and set decorator Jerry Wunderlich) was the only one given by the Academy to the disappointingly-received film.

Gene Callahan was 67 years old when he died of a heart attack at his home in Baton Rouge. His final film, "The Man in the Moon", a touching coming-of-age story filmed, as in the case of "Steel Magnolias", in Natchitoches as well as Kisatchie National Forest, Louisiana, was released in October 1991, nearly a year after his death.

References

* [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C0CE5D6103AF93BA15751C1A966958260 "Gene Callahan, 67, A Film Art Director"—New York Times obituary published on] December 281990

External links

*imdb name|id=0130194|name=Gene Callahan


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