G.W. “Skip” Mercier, a Tony-nominated set and costume designer, died Thursday of pancreatic cancer at his home in Rowayton, Connecticut, a publicist announced. He was 66.
From his graduation from Yale School of Drama in 1983 to his death, Mercier worked on nearly 400 shows for the stage. As a resident designer for the National Playwrights Conference at the Eugene O’Neill Theater Center in Waterford, Connecticut, he collaborated on such seminal works as August Wilson’s Fences and taught.
His first New York production, Lanford Wilson’s Lemon Sky, starring Jeff Daniels and Cynthia Nixon, received praise in 1985 from Frank Rich of The New York Times, who applauded his “scrims, as gauzy with color as a Morris Louis canvas.”
He received his Tony nom for best scenic design in 1997 for his efforts on Julie Taymor and Elliot Goldenthal’s Juan Darién: A Carnival Mass.
Recent productions included Old Hats by Bill Irwin and David Shiner and Head of Passes by Tarell McCraney.
Mercier was born on July 20, 1954 in Methuen, Massachusetts and raised in Haverhill, Massachusetts. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa with a B.A. in Dramatic Art from the University of California at Berkeley, then earned his master’s from Yale, where he was named an Oenslager scholar.
His work for children included Rugrats: A Live Adventure, which toured on three continents, and Finding Nemo — The Musical, which has run five times a day at Walt Disney World since opening in 2007.
For the screen in the 1990s, Mercier designed for Eureeka’s Castle at Nickelodeon, for the feature film Southie and for the PBS American Playhouse telefilm Fool’s Fire.
Survivors include his husband and lifelong partner Robert Frazier; children Molly and Wil; brother Michael; and grandson Jack. Donations in his memory can be made to the Actors Fund.