Marjo Bernay, Veteran Art Directors Guild Exec, Dies at 79

Marjo Bernay
Gregg DeGuire/Getty Images

Marjo Bernay

She was "a special voice that spoke truth to power in our industry."

Marjo Bernay, a longtime executive with the Art Directors Guild, died Sunday in Los Angeles of a heart attack. She was 79.

Following the lead of her father, Josef Bernay, she started out as business agent of the Illustrators & Matte Artists (Local 790) and Set Designers & Model Makers (Local 847) from 1979 until they merged with the ADG in 2008.

She was also business agent for the Story Analysts (Local 854) before retiring from the ADG as manager of awards and events in 2013.

"Today we remember Marjo Bernay as a special voice that spoke truth to power in our industry," Chuck Parker, national executive director of the ADG, said. "In one sense, Marjo has left us. But in another sense, she is still here, because she has touched and affected so many of us — peers and superiors, women and men, everyone she greeted warmly and whose voice she recognized when they called on the phone. Her spirit lives on in our collective hearts and actions, today and every day."

Bernay also was a former trustee of the Set Designers Council and member of the ADG board of directors.

She was appointed by various elected officials to the California Film Commission, the Los Angeles Film Development Committee and to the Los Angeles County Film Commission. She also served as a trustee of the Motion Picture Industry Pension and Health Plans, where she was the first woman from the labor side to chair the health plan.

Over the years, Bernay worked closely with her sister, Casey, who remains with the ADG as director of education and special projects. She also is survived by her brother, Mark, and brother-in-law, Dennis.

Donations in her memory may be sent to the Lange Foundation for Animal Rescue, Care and Placement.