The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences announced on Friday that its former president, Gene Allen, has passed away at 97 years old.
He died of natural causes on Wednesday at his home in Newport Beach, California.
Gene had served as the leader of the Academy for three terms in the 1980s. But far before he headed the organization, he received an Oscar for Best Production Design for his work on the 1964 flick My Fair Lady.
He was also nominated for movies like A Star Is Born and Les Girls.
In addition, the film icon was the executive director of the Art Directors Guild from 1970-1997, and at the end of his reign he received a Special Achievement Award.
Scott Roth, who took over Gene’s role at the Guild, expressed his condolences, saying:
“Gene Allen displayed verve and brio in his 27 years leading the Art Directors Guild. Add to this his service as an IATSE vice president, president of the Motion Picture Academy, and his multiple Oscar nominations (and wins) for Art Direction and you’re looking at a protean career unlikely soon to be matched. He will be sorely missed by his many friends (including me) in the labor and entertainment communities.”
Guild president Mimi Gramatky also added:
“Painting until almost the last day of his life, Gene was a consummate artist, leader and award winner who made an enormous contribution to the field of production and art direction, for which we are eternally grateful. We will miss him very much.”
He is survived by his wife, Iris, and sons Pat and Mike. Our hearts go out to everyone affected by this sad loss.
[Image via Getty Images.]