❝ Ken Adam, the British production designer who gave “Dr. Strangelove” its cavernous War Room and James Bond supervillains their futuristic lairs, has died. He was 95.
❝ Adam’s biographer, Christopher Frayling, said Adam passed away in his sleep Thursday at his home in London. Frayling called Adam “the greatest production designer for film, ever.”
MGM Studios and Eon Productions mourned the death of “our beloved friend” in a statement on the official James Bond Twitter account, hailing Adam as the person “who was so responsible for the visual style of the James Bond films.”
❝ The Berlin-born Adam won two Academy Awards in a career that lasted into his 70s and spanned more than 70 films. He was revered for his indelible set artistry, including that for seven Bond movies. Adam was behind the Fort Knox vaults of “Goldfinger,” the iconic volcano hideaway of “You Only Live Twice” and Bond’s gadget-filled Aston Martin…
In the art of production design, Adam’s work on Stanley Kubrick’s 1964 classic is widely considered among the craft’s highest achievements. His enormous, expressionistic set evoked a bomb shelter with a circular, lamp-lit table in the middle, designed to suggest a poker table. It was here where Peter Sellers famously chastised a tussling Air Force general and Russian ambassador: “Gentlemen, you can’t fight in here. This is the War Room!“…
❝ Born Klaus Hugo Adam in 1921, Adam’s Jewish family fled Nazi Germany in 1934. They settled in London, where Adam became enraptured by German Expressionist films like “The Cabinet of Dr. Caligari.” He studied architecture, a background that would later prove useful for production design.
He volunteered during World War II and was one of only a handful of German-born pilots to fly for the Royal Air Force. Later, his flying experience would inspire the ejector seat of 007’s Aston Martin.
RTFA for the tale of an interesting and creative life. Adam is survived by his wife Maria Letizia, whom he married in 1952.