Emmy-Winning Set Decorator Leslie Frankenheimer Dies at 64
Leslie Frankenheimer, a four-time Emmy-winning set decorator and the wife of prominent entertainment attorney John Frankenheimer, has died. She was 64.
Frankenheimer, a governor of the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Art Directors/Set Decorators peer group, died Jan. 22 in Los Angeles after a long battle with leukemia, the TV Academy reported.
Frankenheimer shared Emmys for her work on ABC's Max Headroom in 1987, CBS' Buddy Faro in 1999, the TNT telefilm James Dean in 2002 and HBO's Carnivale in 2004. She was nominated in 2002 for NBC's Emeril.
Her other TV credits included L.A. Law, Scarecrow and Mrs. King, SeaQuest 2032, Star Trek: Voyager, Come On, Get Happy: The Partridge Family Story, Karen Sisco, The Closer, Kitchen Confidential, Bent and, most recently, Ben and Kate.
Before turning to television, Frankenheimer worked on such films as John Landis' The Blues Brothers (1980), Ridley Scott's Blade Runner (1982) and Francis Ford Coppola's One From the Heart (1982).
Frankenheimer joined the TV Academy in 1995 and began serving on the Art Directors/Set Decorators Peer Group Executive Committee in 2002. She was elected as governor of her peer group in 2011 and recently was re-elected to a second two-year term.
She also served on the Governors Ball Committee, Primetime Emmy Awards Committee, Primetime Emmy Awards Anomalies Committee and TV Design Archive Committee.
“Leslie was known for her gracious and loving manner and her elegant and thoughtful decorating skills,” John Shaffner, former Television Academy chairman and an Emmy-winning production designer, said in a statement. “She was a joy to work with and was a true collaborator with production designers and producers in bringing the story to life. She contributed greatly to the style and panache of many a Governors and Creative Arts Ball. As governor she was inclusive and outgoing and a thoughtful contributor at both the PGEC and the board of governors. Style and common sense in one package. We will miss her terribly.”
A fourth-generation Angeleno, Frankenheimer attended UCLA, the New York School of Interior Design and the Art Center College of Design, where she majored in space design. Before becoming a set decorator, she worked for the architectural engineering firms A.C. Martin and Associates and Morganelli-Hume and did window dressings for the May Company department store.
Frankenheimer's grandfather was Neil McCarthy, an entertainment lawyer. In a 2007 interview with the Set Designers Society of America, she noted that one of his clients was famed director Cecil B. DeMille.
"When friends would come in from out of town, my mother would take them to Paramount, and I was allowed to tag along," she said. "The sets were magnificent -- everything in place and so character-driven. I remember how fascinating it was to see these rich rooms held up by unfinished wood and 2x4s. I was very young, but I knew these people were creating magic, and I wanted to be a part of it."
In addition to her husband John, an entertainment lawyer and co-chair emeritus of Loeb & Loeb, survivors include their children Erin and Sean.
A memorial service is scheduled for 4 p.m. Sunday at Pierce Brothers Westwood Village Memorial Park in Los Angeles. The family asks that donations be made to:
City of Hope
Memorial: Leslie Frankenheimer (HCT/Dr. Stephen Forman)
1055 Wilshire Blvd., 11th Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90017
Attention: Britta Bucholz