Cedric Gibbons

Active - 1921 - 2015  |   Born - Mar 23, 1893 in Dublin, Ireland  |   Died - Jul 26, 1960   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

The name "Cedric Gibbons" is irrevocably linked to two august Hollywood organizations: Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The Dublin-born Gibbons was an architect and artist before joining the Edison Studios in 1915. Three years later he became art director for producer Sam Goldwyn, retaining his job when Goldwyn's studio merged with Louis Mayer's company to become MGM in 1924. During the silent and early sound era, Gibbons' set designs became the standard for the industry's "A" product, emphasizing the geometrics of Art Deco and the aesthetics of Impressionism. While his work never attempted to faithfully copy real life, Gibbons was the master of the glorious artifice that made MGM's films the slickest and most expensive-looking in the business. His contributions to 1934's Tarzan and His Mate were so extensive that Gibbons was given co-director credit. In 1927, at the behest of MGM-head Louis Mayer, Cedric Gibbons designed the statuette that would be given out during the first Academy Awards presentation. This gold figurine, popularly known as Oscar, was bestowed upon its creator twelve times during his long career.

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  • Artist who went to work at Edison Studios in 1915 as an assistant.
  • Became art director for Sam Goldwyn in 1918 and subsequently for Goldwyn's MGM Studios in 1924.
  • His only director's credit is as co-director with Jack Conway for Tarzan and His Mate (1934), a film famous for its stars' revealing costumes.
  • One of the founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and designed the Academy Award statuette that has become known as Oscar.
  • Credited on nearly 1,500 MGM films, due in part to the fact that his contract stipulated that he be listed as art director on every MGM film made in the United States.