Friday, August 05, 2005
Genuine Hollywood Royalty
I had the most incredible experience today at the Dreamworks Research Library, which is run by the wonderful Mrs. Lillian Michelson. Lillian is an amazing trusting person (she let me take a book out without any info or library card). Lillian could not have been more pleasant and is still actively researching films. Her husband, Harold, is quite feeble and has taken up daily residence in her office (she has moved her desk to the back corner). I had the great pleasure of being introduced to Harold, it was quite an honor. I knew Harold was a long time production designer. But after a little reasearch, I couldn't believe who I had met. Harold and Lillian are Hollywood royalty, because they both have been imortalized by the SHREK franchise. Julie Andrew's character, Queen Lillian and John Cleese's character, King Harold were named after Mr. and Mrs. Michelson. Here is some cool info about them:
Harold Michelson, whose prolific career dates back to 1949, was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Art Direction for his 1979 work on Star Trek: The Motion Picture. He was also honored in 1999 by the Art Directors Guild with its Lifetime Achievement Award. His other major credits as an art director and/or production designer include Dick Tracy, Terms of Endearment, Spaceballs, Planes, Trains & Automobiles, Mommie Dearest, Catch-22, and History of the World, Part I.
He is widely considered to be "the industry's greatest illustrator." Films he has illustrated include The Ten Commandments, Cleopatra, Ben Hur, Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, The Graduate, Irma La Douce, West Side Story, The Apartment, The Birds, Fiddler on the Roof, A Star Is Born, From Here to Eternity, Ship of Fools and The Turning Point.
Mr. Michelson's first studio job was as an apprentice illustrator for Columbia Pictures, which led to his being traded to Paramount Pictures to do illustrations and storyboards for The Ten Commandments.
Mr. Michelson's wife, Lillian, is considered to be the dean of motion picture research. Thirty-three years ago she founded the Lillian Michelson Research Library, which contains 7,000 books, 100,000 periodicals and 1,500,000 clippings, stills and photographs. She was asked to join DreamWorks in 1995 and is presently located at its studio in Glendale.