Donald M. Ashton

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Donald M. Ashton
Born(1919-06-26)26 June 1919
Edmonton, London, England
Died 25 August 2004(2004-08-25) (aged 85)
Somerset, England
Occupation Art director
Years active 1947–1972

Donald M. Ashton (26 June 1919 25 August 2004) was an Academy Award-nominated and BAFTA-winning English art director most noted for his work on such films as Billy Budd (1962), The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957), Oh! What a Lovely War (1969) and Young Winston (1972).

Academy Awards American awards given annually for excellence in cinematic achievements

The Academy Awards, also known as the Oscars, are a set of awards for artistic and technical merit in the film industry. Given annually by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS), the awards are an international recognition of excellence in cinematic achievements as assessed by the Academy's voting membership. The various category winners are awarded a copy of a golden statuette, officially called the "Academy Award of Merit", although more commonly referred to by its nickname "Oscar".

Art director is the title for a variety of similar job functions in theater, advertising, marketing, publishing, fashion, film and television, the Internet, and video games.

<i>Billy Budd</i> (film) 1962 film by Peter Ustinov

Billy Budd is a 1962 CinemaScope film produced, directed, and co-written by Peter Ustinov. Adapted from the stage play version of Herman Melville's short novel Billy Budd, it starred Terence Stamp as Billy Budd, Robert Ryan as John Claggart, and Ustinov as Captain Vere. In his film debut, Stamp was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actor, and received a Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Male Newcomer. The film was nominated for four BAFTAs.



Born Donald Martin Ashton in Edmonton, London, in 1917, Ashton was the son of a wine buyer. He was educated at Boxlane School, Palmers Green. After training as an architect, on the outbreak of the Second World War he joined the R.A.F., serving in the Middle and Far East. During the latter part of the war he was posted to Ceylon, where he served with Lord Louis Mountbatten's unit. He joined the film industry in 1947 at the suggestion of actor and playwright, Emlyn Williams,. [1] His first job was working as an uncredited draughtsman for the Boulting brothers on their film Brighton Rock . The film starred Richard Attenborough, who was to employ Ashton many years later to design two of the films he directed. During the 1950s and 1970s Ashton acquired a reputation as one of the best production designers in the business with such works as The Bridge on the River Kwai [2] and Young Winston . For this, his last film with Attenborough, [3] Ashton was nominated for an Academy Award in the category for Best Art Direction.

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London is the capital and largest city of both England and the United Kingdom. Standing on the River Thames in the south-east of England, at the head of its 50-mile (80 km) estuary leading to the North Sea, London has been a major settlement for two millennia. Londinium was founded by the Romans. The City of London, London's ancient core − an area of just 1.12 square miles (2.9 km2) and colloquially known as the Square Mile − retains boundaries that follow closely its medieval limits. The City of Westminster is also an Inner London borough holding city status. Greater London is governed by the Mayor of London and the London Assembly.

Architect person trained to plan and design buildings, and oversee their construction

An architect is a person who plans, designs and reviews the construction of buildings. To practice architecture means to provide services in connection with the design of buildings and the space within the site surrounding the buildings that have human occupancy or use as their principal purpose. Etymologically, architect derives from the Latin architectus, which derives from the Greek, i.e., chief builder.

Louis Mountbatten, 1st Earl Mountbatten of Burma British statesman and naval officer

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Second career

In the early 1970s Harry Saltzman, the producer of the James Bond films, was so taken with Ashton's sets that he asked him to redesign the interior of his house. It was the beginning of a new chapter in Ashton's career as a designer of hotels and restaurants, particularly in Asia. His most famous is the magnificent five-star Mandarin Oriental Hotel in Hong Kong, regarded as one of the most elegant hotels in the world. This work resulted in Ashton receiving commissions to design more Mandarin hotels and many of the Sheraton hotels being built around the world. The projects made Ashton a wealthy man, allowing him to purchase homes in Mayfair and Amersham, Buckinghamshire. He lived in Hong Kong for 20 years. [4]

Herschel Saltzman, known as Harry Saltzman, was a Canadian theatre and film producer, He is best remembered for his role in co-producing the James Bond film series with Albert R. Broccoli. He lived most of his life in Denham, Buckinghamshire, England.

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong Hong Kong hotel

Mandarin Oriental, Hong Kong is a five-star hotel located on Connaught Road in Central, Hong Kong, owned and managed by Mandarin Oriental Hotel Group. The hotel opened in 1963 as "The Mandarin". In 2005, the hotel spent USD 150 million to renovate its 501 guestrooms, 10 restaurants, and numerous public spaces, as well as to construct the three-storey Mandarin Spa, one of a few Forbes Five-Star spas in Hong Kong.

Hong Kong East Asian city

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Selected filmography

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  1. The Independent Obituaries 30 September 2004
  2. "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 9 July 2011. Retrieved 23 January 2011.
  3. " Donald M. Ashton - Awards". Retrieved 28 December 2008.
  4. "Don Ashton". The Daily Telegraph. London. 1 September 2004.
  6. "BFI - Features - Charlie Chaplin - Chaplin resources" . Retrieved 21 February 2016.
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