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Cedric Gibbons

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Cedric Gibbons (23 March 1893 – 26 July 1960) was the head of the Art Department of MGM when that studio made its 1939 film The Wizard of Oz. On that film, Gibbons oversaw the work of art director Bill Horning — though Gibbons has been credited with the design concept of the film's Emerald City.[1]

Born in Dublin, Gibbons graduated from the Art Students League in New York City. He began his film career in 1915 with the Edison Studios; he was with Samuel Goldwyn in 1918 and stayed with the reorganized MGM from 1924 to 1956. He supervised all of MGM's output, some 1500 movies, during his time with the studio and exerted immediate control over 150 of those; he was credited on every MGM film, and won 11 Academy Awards out of 37 nominations. (Gibbons was a founding member on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and designed the Oscar statue.)

Gibbons approved and signed (or rejected) every drawing done on every MGM film — including all of the drawings for The Wizard of Oz by Jack Martin Smith.

Gibbons was noted for his polished manners and personal elegance of dress. He had one sartorial eccentricity: he always wore a maroon tie. "Cedric wore the same maroon tie for months and months until it got dirty. Then he threw it away and bought another."[2]

Gibbons had a decade-long marriage with actress Dolores Del Rio; they kept a pet leopard.

References

  1. Aljean Harmetz, The Making of the Wizard of Oz, New York, Delta edition, 1989; pp. 214-15.
  2. Harmetz, p. 213.

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