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Academy News
January 22, 2013

Television Academy Governor Leslie Frankenheimer Passes

Acclaimed set decorator and Television Academy governor Leslie Frankenheimer died following a battle with leukemia. A four-time Primetime Emmy winner, Frankenheimer also served on the 64th Primetime Emmy Awards Governors Ball committee, among other Academy committees.

Leslie Frankenheimer

Leslie Frankenheimer, a Primetime Emmy-winning set decorator and a governor of the Television Academy’s Art Directors/Set Decorators peer group, died January 22, 2013, in Los Angeles, after a lengthy battle with leukemia.

Frankenheimer, whose career spanned more than 30 years, earned four Emmys — for the ABC series Max Headroom in 1987, the CBS series Buddy Faro in 1999, the TNT movie James Dean in 2002 and the HBO series Carnivàle in 2004. She was also nominated in 2002 for the NBC series Emeril.

Her other television credits included Scarecrow and Mrs. King, L.A. Law, 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 her attention to television, Frankenheimer worked on such feature films as Blade Runner, directed by Ridley Scott, One from the Heart, directed by Francis Ford Coppola, and The Blues Brothers, directed by John Landis.

Frankenheimer joined the Television Academy in 1995 and began serving on the Art Directors/Set Decorators Peer Group Exec Committee in 2002. She was elected as governor of her peer group in 2011 and was recently 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,” said John Shaffner, former Television Academy chairman and an Emmy-winning production designer. “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.”

Russ Patrick, a governor of the Television Academy’s Public Relations peer group who served with Frankenheimer on the Governors Ball Committee, said “When Leslie embraced you as a friend — well, it was a life sentence. Even after surviving a harrowing health scare three years ago, she always wanted to know how you were, before she’d entertain questions about her own health.

“Part of Leslie’s magic is that she positively radiated loyalty and love and laughter. What great fun she was! Plus, of course, she was smart as a whip and blessed with incredible artistic talent. She was also a fierce fighter. You wanted her on your side, always! But, oh, when Leslie laughed — well, the world somehow became a better place. All of us who knew her and loved her will miss her, terribly.”

A fourth-generation Angeleno, Frankenheimer attended UCLA, the New York School of Interior Design and Art Center College of Design, where she majored in space design. Prior to becoming a set decorator, she worked for the architectural engineering firms A.C. Martin and Assoc. and Morganelli-Hume and Assoc.

In addition to her involvement with the Television Academy, she was a member of the Set Decorators Society of America, where she served as co-chair of the Community Outreach Committee. She also served on the executive board for IATSE Local 44 representing the set decorators.

Survivors include her husband, John Frankenheimer, an entertainment lawyer and co-chair emeritus of Loeb & Loeb LLC, and their children Erin and Sean.

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