Albert “Hesch” Heschong, production designer of hundreds of theater, television and film productions — more than 2,500 in all — and was the longtime head of the CBS Art Department, died March 1 of a cerebral hemorrhage at his home in Encino, Calif. He was 82.
The Emmy winner was honored in February by the Art Directors Guild’s Film Society.
Cincinnati native graduated from Carnegie Mellon and served during World War II as a captain in the U.S. Army where he supervised photo reconnaissance in the Pacific.
He began his showbiz career by designing stage productions and later moved on to television. He worked on variety shows, situation comedies and live-broadcast anthology dramas such as “U.S. Steel Hour,” “Climax” and “Playhouse 90.”
Over the course of his career, he contributed to the art direction of many legendary television shows including “Gunsmoke,” “The Wild, Wild West,” “Hawaii Five-O,” and “The Bob Newhart Show.” Recent work included “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”
In 1957, Heschong won an Emmy as art director for the TV production “Requiem for a Heavyweight.” Two of his other projects, “Rascals and Robbers: The Secret Adventures of Tom Sawyer” and “My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn,” garnered Emmy nominations in 1982 and 1985, respectively.
In 1962, Heschong was named head of the CBS Art Department, a position he held until his retirement. He designed dozens of CBS telefilms films while continuing his freelance work in television and feature films.
Heschong is survived by his wife, Naomi; two sons, Gregg, a director and cinematographer, and Eric, an artist and illustrator; a daughter, Lisa; and three grandchildren.
Memorial services will be held March 24 at 11 a.m. in the Directors Guild Theater, 7920 Sunset Blvd., in L.A.
Contributions in Heschong’s name for scholarship support in scenic design may be sent to the Office of Planned Giving, Carnegie Mellon University, 5000 Forbes Avenue, Warner Hall, 5th Floor, Pittsburg, PA 15213-3890.