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Richard MacDonald; Artist for Stage, Film

June 04, 1993

Richard MacDonald, artist and production designer for stage and film who had recently been working on the new Tom Cruise movie "The Firm," has died. He was 74.

MacDonald died Saturday at his home in Los Angeles of cancer.

His recent work also included Robert Ackerman's play "Scenes From an Execution," presented this spring at the Mark Taper Forum. Sylvie Drake, Los Angeles Times theater critic emeritus, praised MacDonald's scenic concept behind the play's "darkly handsome Venetian environs."

MacDonald also designed the production of the opera "Rigoletto," conducted by Placido Domingo at the Dorothy Chandler Pavilion in February.

MacDonald's recent films included "Jennifer 8" in 1992, "The Addams Family" in 1991, "The Russia House" in 1990 and "Coming to America" in 1988.

Born in Yeovil, England, MacDonald studied to become a painter. After service in the Royal Navy during World War II, he taught painting at Leeds College of Art and Camberwell School of Art.

From 1955 to 1965, he worked as a television art director for advertising firms and began doing drawings for the films of American director Joseph Losey.

MacDonald received his first film credit as production designer on Losey's "Modesty Blaise" in 1965. He later designed director John Schlesinger's "Far From the Madding Crowd," "The Day of the Locust" and "Marathon Man."

MacDonald's paintings have been exhibited at galleries in London and Los Angeles. His recent work on Southern California landscapes will be exhibited from July 7 to Aug. 14 at the Couturier Gallery in Los Angeles.

MacDonald is survived by his wife and collaborator, costume designer Ruth Myers, and a stepdaughter, Rachel. The family has requested that memorial contributions be made to the Cancer Research Institute or the American Cancer Society.

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