Tony Walton, Award-Winning Stage and Screen Designer, Dies at 87

Tony Walton, a generation designer who brought a wide visible creativity to the generation of unique onstage seems to be for Broadway shows about a 50 %-century, earning him a few Tony Awards, died on Wednesday at his dwelling in Manhattan. He was 87.

His daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, whose mom is Julie Andrews, reported the result in was problems of a stroke.

In extra than 50 Broadway productions, Mr. Walton collaborated on coming up with the sets (and sometimes, the costumes) with directors like Mike Nichols, Bob Fosse and Jerry Zaks, successful Tonys for “Pippin,” “The House of Blue Leaves” and “Guys and Dolls.”

He also worked in movie, wherever he shared the Oscar for the artwork and set decoration of Mr. Fosse’s “All That Jazz” (1979) years previously, Mr. Walton intended the inside sets and the costumes for “Mary Poppins” (1964), starring Ms. Andrews, to whom he was then married.

Mr. Walton’s television function integrated “Death of Salesman” (1985), which starred Dustin Hoffman, Kate Reid and John Malkovich, for which he won an Emmy.

Prior to the opening of his closing Broadway show, “A Tale of Two Cities,” in 2008, Mr. Walton explained his approach of conceiving a production’s design and style.

“These times, I try to study the script or pay attention to the rating as if it had been a radio demonstrate and not enable myself to have a hurry of imagery,” he explained to Playbill. “Then, right after assembly with the director — and, if I’m lucky, the author — and whichever input they may possibly want to give, I try out to envision what I see as if it ended up gradually being revealed by a pool of gentle.”

Donald Albrecht, the curator of an exhibition of Mr. Walton’s theater and film function at the Museum of the Going Impression in 1989, informed The New York Instances in 1992: “He never ever places a Walton style on best of the material. He arrives from inside of the operate out.”

Mr. Walton labored with Mr. Zaks on a lot of Broadway exhibits, including “Guys and Dolls,” a revival of “A Humorous Detail Took place on the Way to the Forum” and “Anything Goes.”

“I started off directing mainly because I liked performing with actors,” Mr. Zaks stated in a telephone interview. “I had no appreciation for what a established could for a creation. Tony pushed me to visualize the different options that could possibly be used to develop a set.”

For the 1986 revival of John Guare’s “The House of Blue Leaves,” about a spouse and children in Sunnyside, Queens, on the working day Pope Paul VI visited New York Town in 1965, Mr. Zaks recalled what Mr. Guare wrote in the actor’s edition of the play.

“He referred to Manhattan as Oz to the individuals who lived in Queens,” Mr. Zaks said, “and out of that he arrived up with a established that constantly had Manhattan in the distance.”

In his evaluate in The New York Occasions, Frank Rich described the affect of Mr. Walton’s set as a “Stuart Davis-like collage in which the Shaughnessys’ vulgar domestic squalor is hemmed in by the urbanscape’s oppressive model-title symptoms.”

Four years later on, Mr. Zaks extra: “I stated, ‘Tony, we could do ‘Six Degrees of Separation’ with two sofas and a Kandinsky.’ He stated, ‘Trust that, believe that,’ and he produced me a superior director.”

The double-sided Kandinsky hung around the two pink sofas on the phase in the play by Mr. Guare, about a mysterious younger Black con man.

Anthony John Walton was born on Oct, 24, 1934, in Walton-on-Thames, England. His father, Lancelot, was an orthopedic surgeon. His mother, Hilda (Drew) Walton was a homemaker.

He traced his like of theater to a night for the duration of Earth War II when he was 5 or 6. His mothers and fathers had just seen the musical “Me and My Woman,” he reported in the Playbill interview, and “they experienced paper hats and little hooters — and experienced definitely experienced a couple of bubbles to cheer them along the way — and they woke my sister and me up and taught us ‘The Lambeth Stroll.’”

His interest in the theater blossomed at Radley University, which is close to Oxfordshire, wherever he acted, directed and set on marionette exhibits. After serving in the Royal Air Power in Canada, he analyzed artwork and design and style at the Slade Faculty of High-quality Artwork in London. Although there, he was a portion-time actor and stagehand at the Wimbledon Theater.

Soon after graduating in 1955, he moved to Manhattan where he received a job sketching caricatures for Playbill. His very first major theater venture in the United States was an Off Broadway revival of the Noël Coward musical, “Conversation Piece” in 1957.

4 several years later on, immediately after commuting to London where by he intended productions for a variety of shows, he was hired for his to start with Broadway perform, “Once There Was a Russian,” established in 18th-century Crimea it shut on opening night time.

His following demonstrate, the first production of “A Amusing Detail,” ran for much more than two yrs, and used his notion to challenge several sky photographs on to a curved screen throughout the stage.

For the following 47 many years, he toggled in between musicals, comedies and dramas like a 1973 Broadway revival of Anton Chekhov’s “Uncle Vanya.” For a single of its stars, Lillian Gish, he had intended an eggplant-coloured gown that she turned down, telling him that “Russian peasants only wore wonderful pastel colors,” according to Ms. Walton Hamilton. “He said, ‘Of course, Miss Gish,’” she said, then he experienced it dyed 1 shade darker with just about every subsequent cleaning.

In the 1990s, he began directing at the Irish Repertory Theater in Manhattan, the Previous Globe Theater in San Diego, the Goodspeed Opera Property in East Haddam, Conn., and the Bay Avenue Theater in Sag Harbor in New York, which his daughter aided observed. At Bay Avenue, he was also the production designer of a 2003 revival of “The Boy Mate,” which was Ms. Andrews’s directorial debut.

Mr. Walton also illustrated the 12 children’s guides about Dumpy the Dump Truck, and “The Wonderful American Mousical,” that had been composed by Ms. Andrews and Ms. Walton Hamilton.

“Tony was my dearest and oldest buddy,” Ms. Andrews, who satisfied Mr. Walton when she was 12 and he was 13, claimed in a assertion. “He taught me to see the environment with refreshing eyes, and his talent was simply monumental.”

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his spouse, Genevieve LeRoy-Walton his stepdaughter, Bridget LeRoy five grandchildren his sisters, Jennifer Gosney and Carol Corridor and his brother, Richard.

In 1989, Mr. Zaks recalled becoming uncertain about the type of hotel for the environment for the farce “Lend Me a Tenor.” Mr. Walton sketched just one that experienced a Victorian type, then an additional, more persuasive just one, with an Artwork Deco design.

“The beauty of the Artwork Deco sketch just blew me away,” he stated, “and I understood right absent that when matters received amok onstage, when persons commenced slamming doors in just a lovely piece of Art Deco architecture, it would be considerably funnier.”