Lemuel Ayers

Lemuel Ayers

art director, director, writer

Lemuel Ayers was born on Jan 22, 1915 in USA. Lemuel Ayers's big-screen debut came with Meet Me in St. Louis directed by Vincente Minnelli in 1944. Lemuel Ayers is known for Meet Me in St. Louis directed by Vincente Minnelli, Judy Garland stars as Esther Smith and Margaret O'Brien as 'Tootie' Smith. The upcoming new movie Lemuel Ayers plays is Ziegfeld Follies which will be released on Apr 08, 1946.

Lemuel Ayers (1915-1955), a New Yorker, studied at Princeton University and the University of Iowa before being chosen, at the age of 29, by Leonard Sillman to design the sets for the 1939 Broadway revivals of "Journey's End" and "They Knew What They Wanted". Major recognition came with his costume designs for the Maurice Evans - Judith Anderson "Macbeth" in 1941. Lemuel Ayers Broadway production designs subsequently were seen in, among others, "Angel Street" (1941); "The Pirate" (1942); "Harriet" (1943); "Oklahoma!" (1943); Edwin Lester's "Song of Norway" (1944); "Bloomer Girl" (1944); "Cyrano de Bergerac" (1946); "St. Louis Woman" (1946); "Inside U.S.A." (1948); "Kiss Me Kate" (1948) and "Out Of This World" (1950), both of which he co-produced; Edwin Lester's "Kismet" (1953-sets and costumes); and "Pajama Game" (1954). A prolific Broadway theatrical scenic and costume designer, Ayers was a master at creating a sense of vast spaciousness within a stage proscenium frame. His stylized settings for "Oklahoma!" (1943), "Kiss Me Kate" (1948), and his richly beautiful settings for "Out of This World" (1950), "Kismet" (1953), were noteworthy examples of this gift. One critic suggested that despite Cole Porter's superb score and Charlotte Greenwood's memorable performance, Lemuel Ayers' settings were the "real star" of "Out of This World". Ayers sometimes designed costumes for shows, as well, but frequently collaborated with costume designer Miles White. The Arthur Freed MGM Unit and Vincente Minnelli brought Ayers to the Culver City MGM Studios to design "Meet Me in St. Louis". As was the custom with a NYC "imported Broadway theatre designer", Cedric Gibbons, MGM art department supervisor, appointed Jack Martin Smith, assigned to co-art direct the film. Upon completion of "Meet Me in St. Louis", the Arthur Freed unit went into film production on "Ziegfeld Follies" (1945). Lemuel Ayers designed scenery for the film, as well, directing the musical segment "Love", which was featured in the production. During filming on "Meet Me In St. Louis", Lemuel Ayers recommended the Alfred Lunt-Lynn Fontanne Broadway play "The Pirate" (1942-177 performances) to Vincente Minnelli and Judy Garland for his next follow up feature. In the Spring of 1962, seven years after Lemuel Ayers demise, Edwin Lester and his Los Angeles/San Francisco Civic Light Opera Association, remounted the original Broadway 1953 "Kismet" production for their summer revival season. The production's original costumes and scenery had been purchased by the Dallas Light Opera and warehoused in Texas. The Lemuel Ayers Estate loaned all of the original set and costume designs, including 1/2" = 1'-0" scenic drop and set paint illustrations and conceptual designs to Edwin Lester's scenic shop. Phil Raiguel, the scenic supervisor who had painted the original production, supervised the scenic restoration; most of the scenic artists and stage carpenters employed had built and painted the original production. All new back-drops were painted; lost scenic elements were rebuilt; the Texas warehoused sets refurbished, duplicating the entire original 1953 production, including all the costumes. The revival was Edwin Lester's tribute to Lemuel Ayers talent.

  • Birthday

    Jan 22, 1915
  • Place of Birth

    New York City, New York, USA

Known For

Movies & TV Shows