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Anthony John Walton
24 October 1934
Slade School of Fine Art
|Occupation||Art director, set designer, costume designer|
(m. 1959; div. 1967)
|Children||Emma Walton Hamilton|
He has received many Tony, Oscar, Emmy and BAFTA nominations for his work as both a costume designer and as a set designer. For his work in the theatre he has won 3 Tony Awards for Pippin (1973), House of Blue Leaves (1986), and Guys and Dolls (1992). He received Academy Award nominations for his work in film for Mary Poppins (1964), Murder on the Orient Express (1974), and The Wiz (1978), winning for All That Jazz (1979). He won an Emmy for his work in television for the acclaimed 1985 TV version of Death of a Salesman.
Walton attended Radley College in Oxford where he studied Greek and Latin before attending the Slade School of Fine Art in London. He spent two years of mandatory military training with the Royal Air Force, as a trainee pilot in Ontario, Canada.
He began his career in 1957 with the stage design for Noël Coward's Broadway production of Conversation Piece. Throughout the late 1950s and early 1960s, he designed for the New York and London stage.
In 2019, on The Graham Norton Show, Julie Andrews mentioned how Walton, her first husband, entered the motion pictures business through Walt Disney, after Disney met her back stage after a performance of Camelot. Disney offered to look at his portfolio and later ended up hiring Walton as a costume designer, set designer, and visual consultant for Mary Poppins, for which he received an Academy Award nomination for Best Production Design.
In 1983, Diana Ross, the star of the film The Wiz, chose Walton to design the stage set for her landmark 1983 Central Park concert, "For One & For All". Broadcast worldwide on the Showtime cable network, the concert special, over the course of two days, featured an on-site audience of over 1,200,000 on the park's Great Lawn.
In 1989, the American Museum of the Moving Image showcased over 30 years of his work for films, television and theater in an exhibit entitled: Tony Walton: Designing for Stage and Screen, including drawings, models and photographs from his early plays including the Regency-style Conversation Piece from 1957 and "his evocation of a London street" for the 1964 film Mary Poppins.
In December 2005, for their annual birthday celebration to 'The Master', The Noël Coward Society invited Walton as the guest celebrity to lay flowers in front of Coward's statue at New York's Gershwin Theatre, thereby commemorating the 106th birthday of Sir Noël.
Inspiration for Disney's Winnie the Pooh
Walt (Disney) said 'Read the Pooh stories and let me know what you think.' We tried, but the stories just weren't coming through to us. At that time designer Tony Walton was working on Poppins. He was English-born, and he was about our age, so we asked him to give us some insight on the Pooh character. His eyes lit up. 'Winnie the Pooh?', he said. 'I love Winnie the Pooh! Of course I'll help you!' Three hours later, he was still talking about Pooh, inspiring us no end. He explained how he had been a chubby little boy, and had felt very insecure. But Winnie the Pooh was his buddy, because Pooh was pudgy and proud of it. Pooh was probably the only character in the world who exercised to gain weight! Pooh was a wonderful, lovable friend who would never let you down or turn his back on you. Soon, we started to fall in love with Pooh ourselves. Our songs for Winnie the Pooh were truly a love affair, thanks to A.A. Milne and to Tony Walton.
Walton married his childhood sweetheart Julie Andrews in 1959, and the two had a daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton. Walton has said that he fell in love with Andrews when they were in their early teens and he saw her playing the egg in a theatre production of Humpty Dumpty. They divorced in 1967 but still remain close friends.
Walton married Gen LeRoy in 1991. Walton, Andrews and their daughter have worked several times together professionally. He has illustrated several children's books written by Andrews and their daughter.
Broadway productions and others
More recently, Walton has diversified into directing, with productions of:
- Orson Welles' Moby Dick—Rehearsed, 2005
- Oscar Wilde's The Importance of Being Earnest, 1996
- Noël Coward In Two Keys, 1996
- George Bernard Shaw's Major Barbara, 1997
- Missing Footage, 1999
- Ooops! The Big Apple Circus Stage Show, 1999
- Where's Charley?, 2004
- After the Ball, 2004
- Busker Alley, 2006
Awards and Nominations
|1964||Best Costume Design||Mary Poppins||Nominated|
|1974||Best Costume Design||Murder on the Orient Express||Nominated|
|1978||Best Costume Design||The Wiz||Nominated|
|1978||Best Production Design||The Wiz||Nominated|
|1979||Best Production Design||All That Jazz||Won|
|1985||Best Art Direction for a Miniseries or Movie||Death of a Salesman||Won|
|1967||Best Costume Design||The Apple Tree||Nominated|
|1973||Best Scenic Design||Pippin||Won|
|1976||Best Scenic Design||Chicago||Nominated|
|1980||Best Scenic Design||A Day in Hollywood / A Night in the Ukraine||Nominated|
|1984||Best Scenic Design||The Real Thing||Nominated|
|1986||Best Scenic Design||The House of Blue Leaves||Won|
|1987||Best Scenic Design||The Front Page||Nominated|
|1988||Best Scenic Design||Anything Goes||Nominated|
|1988||Best Costume Design||Anything Goes||Nominated|
|1989||Best Scenic Design||Lend Me a Tenor||Nominated|
|1990||Best Scenic Design||Grand Hotel||Nominated|
|1991||Best Scenic Design||The Will Rogers Follies||Nominated|
|1992||Best Scenic Design||Guys and Dolls||Won|
|1994||Best Scenic Design||She Loves Me||Nominated|
|1997||Best Scenic Design||Steel Pier||Nominated|
|2000||Best Scenic Design||Uncle Vanya||Nominated|
- Liebenson, Bess (29 December 1991). "Spinning Visual Style From Writers' Words". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Rothstein, Mervyn (2008). "A Life in the Theatre: Tony Walton". Playbill. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Grimes, William (9 June 1992). "For a Broadway Set Designer, Home Is Where the Stage Is". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Stephens, Suzanne (5 October 1989). "Currents; The World According To Walton". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Sherman, Robert B., Walt's Time: from before to beyond, 1998, p 68.
- Stevens, Christopher (2010). Born Brilliant: The Life Of Kenneth Williams. John Murray. p. 372. ISBN 978-1-84854-195-5.
- Rothstein, Mervyn (6 June 1989). "Tonys? Six. Profits? None Soon". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Collins, Glenn (1 June 1992). "'Dancing at Lughnasa' And 'Crazy for You' Win Top Tony Awards". The New York Times. Retrieved 15 October 2019.
- Tony Walton on IMDb
- Tony Walton at the Internet Broadway Database
- Tony Walton at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Yahoo! Movies profile of Tony Walton
- A Tale of Two Cities
- Profile for A Tale of Two Cities[permanent dead link]
- Tony Walton costume design reproductions for The Wiz, 1978., held by the Billy Rose Theatre Division, New York Public Library for the Performing Arts