Lyle Wheeler

Active - 1936 - 2018  |   Born - Feb 2, 1905   |   Died - Jan 10, 1990   |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Romance, Musical, Western

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Biography by Hal Erickson

American art director Lyle Wheeler was educated at the University of Southern California, then flourished as a magazine artist and industrial designer. Launching a film career in the '30s with producer David O. Selznick, Wheeler made himself invaluable by conjuring up set designs and decorations which gave the economical Selznick product an expensive-looking veneer. Excellent examples of the Wheeler touch include the spectacular "pullback" ballroom shot in The Prisoner of Zenda (1937), and the brilliantly assembled overhead view of the wounded in Gone with the Wind (which obscured the fact that the "Atlanta depot" was just a few feet away from the Selznick parking lot!). Wheeler collected an Oscar for Gone with the Wind, then earned additional statuettes for his work on 20th Century-Fox's Anna and the King of Siam (1946), The Robe (1953) and The Diary of Anne Frank (1959). Wheeler was head of the 20th Century-Fox art department from 1944 through 1960, overseeing such handsome jobs as The Lodger (1944), Gentlemen's Agreement (1947), All About Eve (1950), The Sun Also Rises (1957) and Wild River (1960). In the '60s, Lyle Wheeler worked with another penny-pinching producer, Otto Preminger, on Advise and Consent (1962), The Cardinal (1963), In Harm's Way (1965) and Tell Me That You Love Me, Junie Moon (1970).

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