Open main menu

Stephenie Lesley McMillan (née Gardner; 20 July 1942 – 19 August 2013)[1] was an internationally recognised British set decorator.

Stephenie McMillan
Stephenie Lesley Gardner

(1942-07-20)20 July 1942
Ilford, Essex, England
Died19 August 2013(2013-08-19) (aged 71)
Norfolk, England
OccupationSet decorator
Years active1984–2012
Known forThe English Patient
Harry Potter



Born in Ilford, Essex but raised in Chigwell, she graduated from the Woodford County High School for Girls. She worked as a secretary in offices of Stillman & Eastwick-Field, a London-based architecture firm.[2] She was best known for working on all the Harry Potter films.[3]

She received three Academy Award nominations for the first, fourth, and seventh films, as well as a BAFTA and Critics Choice Award nomination for the eighth[4][5] in the series, which went on to win the American Art Directors Guild's Contribution to Cinematic Imagery in 2012.

Between 1984 and 2012, she worked as set decorator on 28 films. 16 of these were in collaboration with noted production designer Stuart Craig, including A Fish Called Wanda (1988), Shadowlands (1993), The English Patient (1996), for which she won an Oscar,[6] Chocolat (2000) and all of the eight Harry Potter films. Her last film was the Coen brothers-scripted Gambit (2012).

McMillan excelled at handling the decoration of large sets. In a February 2011 interview, she said: "I have been so lucky to have had the opportunity to dress these brilliant and huge sets [for the Harry Potter series] with enough time and money to do it properly, so I feel I don't really have any excuse for not getting it right. To have a set that is right for the director and makes the actors feel comfortable, that's really what I strive for."[7]

After completing the Harry Potter film series, McMillan and Craig collaborated on the designs for the Harry Potter theme park in Orlando, Florida, and 'The Magical World of Harry Potter', which Warner built at its studios at Leavesden, Hertfordshire, which opened in April 2012. Thomas Welsh, a former President of the Art Director's Guild, told the Los Angeles Times: "An eye for even the smallest details—and an understanding of how they swayed the story line — set her body of work apart." McMillan likened winning her Oscar "to being elevated to the peerage".[citation needed]


She died at her home in Norfolk from complications of ovarian cancer, on 19 August 2013, aged 71.[1]


  1. ^ a b Gerber, Marisa (21 August 2013). "Stephenie McMillan, Oscar-winning set decorator, dies at 71". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 9 September 2013.
  2. ^ "Essex and Oscar" at Archived 2013-09-25 at the Wayback Machine
  3. ^ Whitlock, Cathy (5 February 2013). Designs on Film: A Century of Hollywood Art Direction. HarperCollins. p. 366. ISBN 978-0-06-224160-3. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  4. ^ Reynolds, Simon (12 February 2012). "Orange BAFTA Film Awards 2012 winners list". Digital Spy. Hearst Magazines UK. Retrieved 22 August 2013.
  5. ^ "'Hugo', 'The Artist' top nominees for Critics Choice Awards", L.A. Times blog (December 2011)
  6. ^ O'Neil, Thomas (2003). Movie awards: the ultimate, unofficial guide to the Oscars, Golden Globes, critics, Guild & Indie honors. Perigee Book. p. 676. ISBN 978-0-399-52922-1. Retrieved 12 April 2013.
  7. ^ "Oscars 2011: Will the Brits win big in the technical categories?", The Guardian, 27 February 2011.

External linksEdit