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Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (2)  | Trivia (4)

Overview (3)

Born in Holitz, Bohemia, Austria-Hungary [now Holice v Chechách, Czech Republic]
Died in Pacific Palisades, California, USA  (pneumonia)
Birth NameHeinrich Horner

Mini Bio (1)

Harry Horner was born in Bohemia (now Czech Republic), but spent most of his early life in Austria. In 1934, he graduated from the University of Vienna with a degree in architecture. Along the way, he also managed to study dramatic arts, directing and costume design, making his stage debut as an actor with the Max Reinhardt Theatre Company. He joined the troupe during their 1936 tour of the United States as assistant to Reinhardt.Putting every facet of his training to use, he worked variously as actor ("Iron Men", 1936), associate musical director and conductor ("The Eternal Road", 1937); and, finally, scenic designer ("All the Living", 1938).

In 1940, Horner became a naturalised American citizen and went to Hollywood, having formed an association with the noted production designer William Cameron Menzies. He assisted Menzies on the generational drama Our Town (1940), then joined the U.S. Army Air Force on specialised duties to work on morale-building projects, such as Stage Door Canteen (1943) (as production designer). Under air force supervision, he then created the sets for Winged Victory (1944), based on a Moss Hart play about pilot recruitment and training. Following the war, Horner divided his time between the stage and Hollywood. He won the first of two Academy Awards for The Heiress (1949) (in collaboration with John Meehan), having done meticulous and painstaking research on period detail, collecting numerous contemporary photographs. Three years later, he branched out into directing with the cult sci-fi Red Planet Mars (1952), followed by the stylish film noir Beware, My Lovely (1952) (eliciting power-house performances from his stars Robert Ryan and Ida Lupino).

Throughout the remainder of the decade, Horner remained active as a designer on Broadway, including the play "Tovarich" (which he also staged). He also turned his attention to designing and directing for both the Metropolitan and the San Francisco Opera, as well as finding time to direct a number of early television episodes. For the big screen, he worked as production designer on diverse projects, always at his best on famous literary adaptations, such as Born Yesterday (1950) and Separate Tables (1958), and winning his second Academy Award for the gritty Robert Rossen drama, The Hustler (1961). As with all his assignments, he conducted extensive research on the milieu by visiting countless pool halls in order to imbue both picture and characters with the necessary complexity and realism. Horner was nominated for a third Oscar for They Shoot Horses, Don't They? (1969). He was inducted into the Art Director's Guild Hall of Fame in 2006.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (2)

Joan Ruth Frankel (3 October 1952 - 5 December 1994) ( his death) ( 3 children)
Betty Arnold Pfaelzer (22 September 1938 - 16 July 1951) ( her death)

Trivia (4)

Max Reinhardt's Berlin centered theatrical life came to an abrupt sudden halt in 1933, following the rise to power of the neo-anti-Semitic Nazi party. As a Jew, he was ordered to relinquish control of the Deutches Theater, and believing his life was in danger, he fled the country. After a brief stay in Italy, Reinhardt traveled to the United States in early 1934, locating in Los Angeles, where he staged a production of Shakespeare's "A Midsummer Night's Dream" at the Hollywood Bowl. This production was performed for several weeks with thousands of patrons attending the theatrical event. Harry Horner had followed Max Reinhardt, acting as his stage manager, and alas an actor in the production. Warner Brothers produced the production as a film in 1935. Afterwards, Max Reinhardt relocated to New York directing and producing several plays. Harry Horner followed, continuing as a stage manager, as well as designing scenery. In 1940, Harry Horner designed the scenery on the Moss Hart (book), Ira Gershwin (lyrics), Kurt Well (music) dramatic musical play "Lady In The Dark", at the New York Alvin Theatre, opening January 23, 1941. The introduction of the use of donut turntables in the set's floor plan design established a Broadway first. Turntable floor units had been used in European theatrical productions, but never had been incorporated in the American theater scenic design evolution prior to this production.
In New York, Harry Horner assisted Max Reinhardt in his staging of the biblical musical spectacle "The Eternal Road" (Der Wegder Verheissing), 1/7/1937-5/15/1937, total performances 153. Music composed by Kurt Weill, conducted by Harry Horner, with a cast of 136. The production's scenic design, costume design and lighting design was by Norman Bel Geddes. Max Reinhardt became disgusted with Bel Geddes lack of interest and not attending rehearsal schedules. Reinhardt made Harry Horner his art director pressing him into supervising the production's scenic, costume and lighting department's responsibilities. Reinhardt placed Harry in charge of many areas of theatrical staging recognizing his faceted managerial talents. Consequently, Harry Horner was drafted into a scenic design career on subsequent Broadway theatricals.
Gene Callahan's television and film set decorating career changed when he was hired to be the Production Designer by Elia Kazan for his location film "America, America" filmed in Greece. The location film was shot on exterior locations, with set designed interiors built in studio facilities; Gene selected with Elia Kazan the film's locations, designed and decorated all of the film's exterior and interior film location and stage sets as well. Honoring movies released in 1963, the film was nominated for an Oscar by The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in the 1964 Black and White film Art Direction category. During this era, two academy award Art Direction categories existed, an Oscar for a motion picture filmed in black and white, and a second category for a motion picture filmed in color. The telecast of the AMPAS event was held, for the first time, moved from Hollywood's Pantages Theater to the Santa Monica Civic Auditorium to increase the audience capacity. The ABC TV color network requested a set sketch from each of the nominated films' art direction nominee. The color television program's featured each nominated "on-screen set sketch" for the B&W film "America, America." The illustration was drawn and presented not in B&W, but in sepia, a set-illustration by Gene's two designer friends, film production designers Bob Boyle and Harry Horner. Gene Callahan won his first 1964 Oscar, in the B&W AMPAS production design-art direction category for "America, America".

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