Henry Bumstead

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Henry Bumstead
Lloyd Henry Bumstead

(1915-03-17)March 17, 1915
DiedMay 24, 2006(2006-05-24) (aged 91)
OccupationArt director, production designer

Lloyd Henry "Bummy" Bumstead (March 17, 1915 May 24, 2006) was an American cinematic art director and production designer. In a career that spanned nearly 70 years, Bumstead began as a draftsman in RKO Pictures' art department and later served as an art director or production designer on more than 90 feature films. He won Academy Awards for Best Art Direction for To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) and The Sting (1973). He was also nominated for Academy Awards for his work on Vertigo (1958) and Unforgiven (1992).


After attending the University of Southern California, he began working at RKO Pictures in 1937. His career was interrupted by military service during World War II. He worked at Paramount Pictures in the 1940s and 1950s and at Universal Studios in the 1960s and 1970s. He collaborated with George Roy Hill and Clint Eastwood on multiple films. His final work, at age 91, was on Eastwood's Flags of Our Fathers (2006).

Early years

Bumstead was born in 1915 in Ontario, California, 35 miles east of Los Angeles. His father operated L.G. Bumstead & Company, a sporting goods store, and his mother was a teacher. In high school, he was captain of the football, team, student body president, and class valedictorian. [1]

He received a scholarship to the University of Southern California where he studied architecture. He also played football and ran hurdles for the track team. [1]

Film career

RKO and Paramount

Bumstead interned with RKO Pictures in 1935 while still a student at USC. [1] In 1937, he went to work as a draftsman RKO's art department. [2] He received his first screen credit for set design for the 1944 feature The Story of Dr. Wassell . [3]

Bumstead's career was interrupted by service in the Navy during World War II. After the war, he joined Paramount Pictures where he worked and studied under the noted art directors, Hans Dreier and Roland Anderson. Bumtead's first film as an art director was the 1948 feature Saigon . [2] Early works also included Come Back, Little Sheba (1952 film) and The Bridges at Toko-Ri (1952).

Later in the 1950s, Bumstead worked on two Alfred Hitchcock features: The Man Who Knew Too Much (1956) and Vertigo (1958). He received his first Academy Award nomination for Vertigo. [4] In a tribute to Bumstead, the Art Directors Guild said of his work on Vertigo: "Though shot in Technicolor, the film's settings masterfully captured a film-noir style and atmosphere." [5] He again collaborated with Hitchcock on Topaz (1969) and Family Plot (1976).


Bumstead left Paramount for Universal Studios in 1961. He won the Academy Award for art direction for his work on To Kill a Mockingbird (1962). [6] Film historian Michael Stephens wrote: "Bumstead's sets not only captured the style of a small town in the South, but also the atmosphere of repression and danger that hovers over the story." [5] Other significant works during Bumstead's years at Universal included Father Goose (1964), The Secret War of Harry Frigg (1968), and The Front Page (1974).

Hill collaboration

In the 1970s, Bumstead began a lengthy collaboration with director George Roy Hill that was highlighted by The Sting (1973). The film won the Academy Award for best picture, and Bumstead and Hill also received Academy Awards for best director and best art direction. [7] Bumstead's relationship with Hill extended into the late 1980s and included Slaughterhouse-Five (1972), The Great Waldo Pepper (1975), Slap Shot (1977), A Little Romance (1979), The World According to Garp (1982), The Little Drummer Girl (1984), and Funny Farm . [3]

Eastwood collaboration

Bumstead began a long professional relationship with Clint Eastwood on the 1972 western Joe Kidd . The following year, Eastwood hired Bumstead for his directorial debut in High Plains Drifter (1973). The two worked together on a total of 13 films, including Unforgiven (1992), Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil (film) (1997), Space Cowboys (2000), 'Blood Work (2002), Mystic River (2003), and Million Dollar Baby (2004). [5]

Bumstead's final collaboration with Eastwood was on Flags of Our Fathers and Letters from Iwo Jima . Bumstead was 91 years old during the production, and the films were released after Bumstead's death. Flags of Our Fathers includes a dedication to "Bummy" in tribute to Bumstead.

Family and honors

Bumstead was married to his wife, Lena, for 23 years. He had three sons: Robert, Marty, and Steven. [2]

In 1996, Bumstead received the Art Directors Guild's lifetime achievement award. [5] He was also inducted into the Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame.

He died in May 2006 at age 91. [2] He was posthumously inducted into the Art Directors Guild Hall of Fame in 2009.


All entries are sourced to the American Film Institute's Henry Bumstead Filmography unless otherwise noted. [3]

See also

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  1. 1 2 3 Andrew Horton (2010). Henry Bumstead and the World of Hollywood Art Direction. University of Texas Press. ISBN   9780292779617.
  2. 1 2 3 4 "Henry Bumstead, 91; Veteran Film Production Designer". Los Angeles Times. May 27, 2006. p. B16 via Newspapers.com.
  3. 1 2 3 4 5 6 "Henry Bumstead Filmography". American Film Institute. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  4. "the 31st Academy Awards". Oscars.org. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  5. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 "Lifetime Achievement: Henry 'Bummy' Bumstead". Art Directors Guild. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  6. "the 35th Academy Awards 1963". Oscars.org. Retrieved September 16, 2020.
  7. "The 46th Academy Awards 1974". Oscars.org. Retrieved September 16, 2020.