Bill DeCinces, an art director who ended his 53-year stint at Universal as senior VP of the studios operation group, died on Feb. 10 from complications of Parkinson’s disease in Tarzana, Calif. He was 84.
Born in Los Angeles, William D. DeCinces followed in the footsteps of his father, who worked at Universal’s still lab, taking on his first job at the studio — as a laborer digging ditches — at age 16. After work as a grip and in set lighting, he settled in the art department, moving from assistant art director to art director and, eventually, to head of the department.
As an assistant art director or art director he worked on hundreds of television episodes; his credits included “Ford Theatre,” “Shotgun Slade,” “Whispering Smith,” “Thriller,” “M Squad,” “Alcoa Theatre,” “Laramie,” “The Virginian,” “Wagon Train,” “McHale’s Navy,” “Alfred Hitchcock Presents,” “G.E. True Theatre” and “Ironside.” Film credits included “The Plainsman,” “Texas Across the River,” “Gunfight in Abilene,” “The Reluctant Astronaut,” “Games” and “Eye of the Cat,” and he also worked on a number of telepics, including “Stranger on the Run,” “Silent Night, Lonely Night,” “You’ll Like My Mother” and “That Certain Summer.”
During the 1960s he not only became head of Universal’s art department but also obtained a license as an architect. He designed the Universal Studios Florida production facilities in Orlando.
In the mid-’70s DeCinces was promoted to backlot operations manager and then to senior VP of the studios operation group, a position in which he remained until his retirement in 1999.
DeCinces was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences and the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences.
DeCinces’ wife of 54 years, Lynn Dickey predeceased him in 2004.
Survivors include a daughter, a son, three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.
Donations may be made to the Michael J. Fox Foundation for Parkinson’s Research.