Robert Boyle, the acclaimed art director who (among other things) helped Alfred Hitchcock create some of the most lasting images in motion-picture history, has died, according to the New York Times. Boyle was 100 years old.
A would-be architect whose skills were in little demand during the Depression, Boyle scratched out a living as a bit player at RKO Studios, where he soon became intrigued by set design. After landing a job working for famed art director Hans Dreier, Boyle ended up doing second-unit work for Cecil B. DeMille at Paramount and later moved over to Universal, beginning with The Wolf Man. His first collaboration with Hitchcock, 1942’s Saboteur, featured a now-classic climactic face-off atop the Statue of Liberty (pictured above).
That combination of Hitchcock's vision and Boyle's follow-through established a fruitful working relationship that produced some of cinema's most iconic images, like North By Northwest’s chase across Mount Rushmore and its famed crop-duster sequence, as well as the attack scene in The Birds.
Besides his Hitchcock collaborations, Boyle worked on 60-plus films as either production designer or art director, including It Came From Outer Space, Fiddler On The Roof, Cape Fear, In Cold Blood, The Thomas Crown Affair, Private Benjamin, The Best Little Whorehouse In Texas, Explorers, and Winter Kills. Though nominated four times for an Academy Award throughout the course of his career, Boyle never won—although he finally received an honorary Oscar during the 2008 ceremony, making him (at age 98) the oldest Academy Award winner ever. In 2001, Boyle was also the subject of the Oscar-nominated documentary The Man On Lincoln’s Nose.