Oscar-winning art director, directors
Nathan Juran, art director who won the 1941 Academy Award for “How Green Was My Valley” and went on to direct movies and TV series, died. Oct. 23 of natural causes at his home in Palos Verdes Estates, Calif. He was 95.
Austrian-born son of an immigrant shoemaker grew up in Minneapolis, earning an architecture degree from the U. of Minnesota. He earned his master’s degree at M.I.T. and was a professional architect in Depression-era New York before entering the film business in 1937, when RKO studios hired him to make a drawing of the Brooklyn Bridge from which to build a miniature. He later moved into art direction, transforming a Malibu ranch into a Welsh mining town for “How Green Was My Valley.” He shared the art direction Oscar with Richard Day.
Juran’s career was interrupted by World War II, during which he performed photographic work with the Office of Strategic Services.
He returned to Hollywood after the war as an art director on such movies as “Harvey,” starring James Stewart.
He later turned to directing films such as “Hellcats of the Navy,” starring Ronald Reagan.
Most of his directing work involved low-budget Westerns, science fiction and horror films such as 1958’s camp classic “Attack of the 50-Foot Woman” and “The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad.”
He also directed episodes of such TV shows as “Daniel Boone” and “Lost in Space.”
In 1970 he retired from filmmaking and returned to architecture.
He is survived by wife Catherine, a son, a brother and a sister.