Mel Bourne, three-time Academy Award-nominated film production designer who collaborated on seven films with Woody Allen after working extensively in theater and TV, died of heart failure Tuesday January 14, 2003, at New York Presbyterian Hospital following a short illness. He was 79.
Bourne, who had lived in Tribeca since the 1950s, was working in commercials in 1976 when Allen gave him the opportunity to design “Annie Hall.” It was the start of a collaboration that continued with such diverse challenges as “Interiors,” “Manhattan,” “Stardust Memories,” “A Midsummer Night’s Sex Comedy,” “Zelig” and “Broadway Danny Rose.”
In addition to “Interiors” (1978), Bourne was Oscar-nommed for his work on “The Natural” (1984) and “The Fisher King” (1991).
Besides Allen, he worked throughout his career with such leading directors as Robert Benton, Adrian Lyne, Michael Mann and Terry Gilliam. His other film credits include “Windows,” “Thief,” “Still of the Night,” “FX,” “Manhunter,” “Fatal Attraction,” “Cocktail,” “Rude Awakening,” “Reversal of Fortune,” “Man Trouble,” and “Indecent Proposal.”
He was also the production designer of the original pilot for the television series “Miami Vice.”
Chicago native studied chemical engineering at Purdue U., served in World War II, after which he changed career path to theater; he became an apprentice with the Paper Mill Playhouse in New Jersey and attended Yale’s School of Drama, after which he worked in theater and assisted legendary theatrical designer Robert Edmond Jones.
Moving from the theater to television he became designer of such shows as “Howdy Doody,” “The Hallmark Hall of Fame,” “The Goldbergs” and “The Goodyear-Philco Playhouse.”
He is survived by three sons, two of whom are in the biz: Timothy, a film producer; Tristan, an art director; and Travis. He is also survived by five grandchildren.