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William J. Creber, ‘Planet of the Apes’ Production Designer, Dies at 87

Production designer William Creber, who served as art director on the original “Planet of the Apes” movies, died in Los Angeles on March 7 from pneumonia after a prolonged illness. He was 87.

“This was the man who designed and then flipped cruise ships, burned skyscrapers, and created an entire ape culture,” said Nelson Coates, president of the Art Directors Guild. “Though his last feature was 21 years ago, Bill Creber remained a vital influence in the industry, with his institutional memory, sharing of relevant production solutions, and his amazing skills devising, executing, and teaching incredible methods of in-camera visual fx.”

His three Oscar nominations came for his art direction on George Stevens’ “The Greatest Story Ever Told,” and on Irwin Allen’s “Poseidon Adventure” and “Towering Inferno.” Other projects he worked on include ABC series “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea,” for which he won an Emmy, ABC’s “The Time Tunnel,” and CBS’ “Lost in Space.”

Creber wasn’t the first in his family to work in Hollywood. The art director followed in the footsteps of his father, Lewis Creber, a former art director at Fox Studio whose credits include “State Fair” and all nine seasons of CBS’ “Perry Mason.”

Creber is survived by his daughter Carolyn Karges; Emmy-winning son Kenneth Creber, an art director and set designer who has worked on shows such as “Melrose Place” and “Pushing Daisies”; and his wife, Sally Queen.

 

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