Robert F Boyle Production designer extroidinaire. Started his long Hollywood career by studying architecture and art and the Pasadena Art College in the early 1930’s There he met lifelong friend Boris Levin and they painted regional watercolors all over the area. From Chavez Ravine to Beaumont. From Wilshire Boulevard to Old Mexico. These early watercolors really capture the light and color of the area as seen in the early 30’s. Robert and Boris both went on to work in the Film industry. Mr Boyle worked on over 100 films and is best noted for working with Hitchcock on North By Northwest and The Birds.
He was 98 when he received an honorary Oscar at the The 80th Annual Academy Awards (2008), making him the oldest Oscar recipient to date.
Art director and production designer.
He grew up on a ranch in the San Joaquin Valley.
He earned a degree in architecture in 1933, but it was of little help during the Depression. He worked as a bit player at RKO Pictures.
During WWII, he was a combat photographer for the Army Signal Corps in Europe.
Boyle started at Paramount as a draftsman, illustrator and set designer under the auspices of Hans Dreier. He did second unit work on Paramount’s The Plainsman (1936) and Union Pacific (1939), then went to Mexico to paint. Except for interludes at RKO (1946-47) and Columbia (1957-59), Boyle spent the bulk of his pre-1970 career at Universal (1941-43, 1947-56, 1961-64). He is best known for his fruitful collaboration with Alfred Hitchcock, beginning with Saboteur (1942), for which he created a studio model of the hand and torch of the Statue of Liberty, used for the climactic final scene. OHis other famous contributions include the crop-dusting plane strafing Cary Grant in North by Northwest (1959) (for which he combined small models with location footage) and his clever montage work of the seagulls swooping on Tippi Hedren in The Birds (1963).
Latterly taught students at the American Film Institute.
Inducted into the Art Directors Hall of Fame in 2012.
Delivered moving comments on his career and the art of moviemaking when given an honorary Oscar at the 80th Academy Awards presentation on February 24, 2008 at age 98. [February 2008]Personal Quotes (4)
[his definition of the job of an art director or production designer] Being responsible for the space in which a film takes place.
I’m all for construction [of a film’s setting], because we’re dealing with the magic of movies. And I always feel that if you build it, you build it for the dream rather than the actuality. We make up our own truth.
[on Alfred Hitchcock] No director I’ve worked with knew as much about films as he did. A lot of directors I worked with knew a great deal, but they didn’t have that technical skill.
[on working with Alfred Hitchcock] On each picture I recognized again, as if for the first time, that I was working with a master. He is one of the few who really knows the materials of his craft and their effect–and he will use anything–in any combination, in any form, conventional or not–to make his statement, to tell his story.