Lawrence G. Paull, the Oscar-nominated production designer who helped create the distinctive looks of 1980s films including the visually groundbreaking 1982 “Blade Runner.” died on Nov. 10 of heart disease in La Jolla, Calif. He was 81.
Paull received an Academy Award nomination for art direction with David L. Snyder for Ridley Scott’s prescient film based on the Philip K. Dick novel “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” He won the BAFTA award for production design for the influential sci-fi film, which depicted a Los Angeles in 2019 with 105 million residents and incessant rain. Together with Scott, Snyder and visual futurist Syd Mead, they conceived a dystopian world of familiar detective film tropes interwoven with a decaying vision of the near future.
Scott said in a statement, “I was always struck by his staunch and faithful support of the strange plan for the unique world of ‘Blade Runner.'”
He helped create the time-travelling nostalgia setting of “Back to the Future” and the jungle adventure backdrop of “Romancing the Stone” as well as serving as production designer or art director on “City Slickers,” “W.W. and the Dixie Dance Kings,” “Blue Collar,” “Escape from L.A.,” “Harlem Nights” and “Naked Gun 33-1/3: The Final Insult.”
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Paull was born in Chicago. He received a B.A. in Architecture from the University of Arizona and began working in films as a set designer and art director before advancing to production designer. Paull’s television credits include “Friendly Fire,” Oprah Winfrey’s ABC mini-series “The Wedding”; Davi Greene’s “Rehearsal for Murder”; Burt Reynolds’ “Hard Time” and James Keach’s “Murder in the Mirror.”
Following his retirement from the motion picture industry, Paull created and taught a curriculum for a Masters of Fine Arts degree in Production Design at Chapman University. He was also Senior Filmmaker-in-Residence at the American Film Institute, creating the curriculum for a Master of Fine Arts degree in Production Design.
Paull is survived by his wife Marcy Bolotin, son Michael Paull, sister Lesley Cavanagh and brother-in-law Craig Bolotin.