John B. Mansbridge, Oscar-Nominated Art Director, Dies at 98

John B. Mansbridge (right) with actor Dean Jones at the ADG Awards in 2006.
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He worked for more than two decades at Disney, and his prolific body of work includes 'The Love Bug,' 'Tron,' 'Bedknobs and Broomsticks' and 'Frankenweenie.'

John B. Mansbridge, the two-time Oscar-nominated art director known for his work on such films as Tron, Bedknobs and Broomsticks and many other Disney films, has died. He was 98.

Mansbridge, who did everything from Citizen Kane (1941) to Frankenweenie (1984) and received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Art Directors Guild in 2006, died Monday, his family announced. He was a resident of La Quinta, Calif.

Mansbridge spent more than two decades at Disney as a designer and supervising art director for live-action features and received his Oscar noms for the studio’s Bedknobs and Broomsticks (1971) and The Island at the Top of the World (1974).

In addition to Tron (1982), his lengthy list of Disney credits as an art director/production designer includes The Love Bug (1968) and its sequels, The Computer Wore Tennis Shoes (1969), The World’s Greatest Athlete (1973), Freaky Friday (1976), The Shaggy D.A. (1976) and the Tim Burton short Frankenweenie (1984).

Mansbridge also won an Emmy Award in 1988 for outstanding art direction for his work on the CBS series Beauty and the Beast.

A native of Geddes, S.D., Mansbridge served as an uncredited draftsman on Citizen Kane for director Orson Welles and worked in the RKO art department under six-time Oscar nominee Van Nest Polglase.

He was brought to Disney in the 1950s by Polglase’s frequent collaborator, production designer Carroll Clark, a seven-time Oscar nominee known for such films as Notorious, Mary Poppins and The Absent-Minded Professor. He would prove to be Mansbridge’s mentor. 

Mansbridge also worked on the 1950s TV show Adventures of Superman and the 1980s revival of The Twilight Zone.

Survivors include his son Mark Mansbridge; also an art director and production designer, his credits include The Matrix Reloaded (2003), Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008), Transformers: Age of Extinction (2014) and, in a nice bit of synergy, Tron: Legacy (2010).

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