For close to thirty years, Wiard Ihnen worked in American cinema as an art director, set director and production designer. Born in Jersey City, the son of an architect, he first studied his father's craft at Columbia. He then attended the Ecole des Beaux Arts in Paris. Following that, Ihnen studied painting. Working as an architect, he designed a few estates in New York. Ihnen began working with Adolph Zukor at the Manhattan studios of Famous Players-Lasky in 1919 and remained there through the early '30s when he moved to the Long Island-based Astoria studios of Paramount. Eventually Ihnen worked for a number of major studios and worked with some of the world's greatest filmmakers including Fritz Lang, John Ford and Josef von Sternberg. Ihnen won Oscars for his work on Wilson (1944) and Blood on the Sun (1945). He retired from film in the early 1960s. Ihnen was married to Edith Head, one of Hollywood's most influential designers.