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Paul Sylbert (April 16, 1928 – November 19, 2016) was an American Academy Award-winning production designer, art director, and set designer who directed on occasion.

Paul Sylbert
Born(1928-04-16)April 16, 1928
DiedNovember 19, 2016(2016-11-19) (aged 88)
OccupationProduction designer, art director, set designer
Years active1951-2008
RelativesRichard Sylbert (twin brother)

Born in Brooklyn, New York, the son of a dressmaker, Sylbert grew up in the borough's Flatbush neighborhood and graduated from Erasmus Hall High School in 1946.[1] He fought in the Korean War and attended the Tyler School of Art at Temple University in Elkins Park, Pennsylvania with his identical twin brother Richard.[2] Early in their careers, they collaborated on Baby Doll and A Face in the Crowd.[3] Sylbert also attended the Hans Hoffman School of Art and The Actors Studio. He is a veteran of the United States Army and served in Korea.

Sylbert died on November 19, 2016 at the age of 88.[4]

Television Design NBC:

The Big Story (1951)

The Home Show (1954)

Cambell's Star Stage (1955)

90 minute specials:

The Ira Hayes Story

John Brown (1960)
NBC Television: Color Consultant (1959)
CBS: Songs for Sale, Molly Goldberg, Ford Theater, Danger, Suspense, Studio One, First regular network color broadcast (1951-1953)

Feature Films: Art Direction/Production Design
Roogie's Bump' (1954)
Baby Doll
The Wrong Man
A Face in the Crowd
Country Music Holiday (1958)
The Teenage Millionaire (1961)
Without Each Other (1962)
The Tiger Makes Out (1967)
The Riot (1969)
Bad Company (1972)
The Drowning Pool (1975)
One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
Mikey and Nicky (1976)
Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Hardcore (1979)
Kramer vs. Kramer (1979)
Resurrection (1980)
Wolfen (1981)
Blow Out (1981)
Without a Trace (1982)
Gorky Park (1983)
Firstborn (1983)
The Journey of Natty Gann (1984)
Ishtar (1985)
Nadine (1987)
The Pick-up Artist (1987)
Biloxi Blues (1988)
Fresh Horses (1988)
Career Opportunities (1989)
Rush (1991)
The Prince of Tides (1991)
Sliver (1992)
Milk Money (1994)
Free Willy 2 (1995)
The Grass Harp (1995)
Rosewood (1997)
Conspiracy Theory (1997)
To End All Wars (2001)

Awards: Production Design
Academy Award - Heaven Can Wait (1978)
Academy Award Nominee - The Prince of Tides (1992)
Lifetime Achievement Award - Art Directors Guild (2009)

Stage Design: New York City Opera Company
Susannah (1957)
Tale for a Deaf Ear (1958)
Street Scene (1958)
The Crucible (1959)
Carmina Buranna (1960)
Oedipus Rex (1960)
Festival of Two Worlds, Spoletto, Italy
The Angel of Fire (1959)
Lulu (1974)

Stage Design
The Agon of Gross - Off-Broadway (1952)
The Making of Moo - Off-Broadway (1956)
The Four Poster - Theatron Kentrikon, Athens, Greece (1957)
Two For The Seesaw- Theatron Kentrikon, Athens, Greece (1958)
The Miracle Worker - Theatron Dionysus, Athens, Greece (1961)
Night of the Iguana- Coconut Grove Playhouse (1961)
The Duchess of Malfi - The Mark Taper Forum (1974)

Stage Direction
Oedipus Rex, New York City Opera Company (1960)
The Four Poster - Theatron Kentrikon, Athens, Greece (1957)
Two for the Seesaw - Theatron Kentrikon, Athens, Greece (1958)
The Miracle Worker - Theatron Dionysus, Athens, Greece (1961)

Television Direction- Series
The Defenders (1963)
The Nurses (1963)
Mr. Broadway (1964)
The Reporter (1964)

Commercial Direction
Over 50 spots including Clairol, Dash, Burma Shave, Belvedere Cigarettes, Belmont Park, etc.
TV Graphics and Group Productions (1965-1968)

Industrial Direction
General Electric (1966)
New York Telephone Co. (1967)

Feature Film Direction
Instant Love, Herbert Richards Productions, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil (1963)
The Steagle - Avco-Embassy Pictures, Inc. (1971)

Writer - Film
The Steagle - Avco-Embassy Pictures, Inc. (1971)
Nighthawks, Universal Studios (1981)

Writer - Books
The Steagle - The making and breaking of a film, Seasbury Press0Continuum Books (1971)
100 Ways to Beat the Blues (contributor), Tanya Tucker, Simon & Schuster (2003)
Cows: A rumination (contributor), Carl Hileman, Emmis Books (2004)

Sylbert was member of the faculty at the Film and Media Arts department of Temple University in Philadelphia, PA where he taught courses in film studies. He also taught a course called Film: The Creative Process at Temple University in the Spring of 2014.


  1. ^ Grimes, William. "Paul Sylbert, Oscar-Winner Who Gave Movies Their Look, Dies at 88", The New York Times, November 25, 2016. Accessed November 29, 2016. "Paul Sylbert was born on April 16, 1928, in Brooklyn, and grew up in the Flatbush neighborhood.... After graduating from Erasmus Hall High School in 1946, he served in the same Army unit in Korea as his brother."
  2. ^ Richard Sylbert bio at
  3. ^ Paul Sylbert at
  4. ^ Paul Sylbert, Oscar-Winning Production Designer on 'Heaven Can Wait,' Dies at 88

External linksEdit