Albert Nozaki, an Oscar-nominated art director, died on Nov. 16 from pneumonia. He was 91.
A Japanese native who moved to the United States when he was three years old, Nozaki received a bachelor’s degree in architecture from the University of Southern California, and a master’s in architectural engineering from the University of Illinois. After taking a tour of the Paramount studios in 1934, Nozaki applied for a job in the art department and was hired as a draftsman.
When Japan attacked Pearl Harbor in 1941, the studio fired Nozaki. He spent the duration of World War II incarcerated in a Japanese relocation camp.
Nozaki was eventually rehired by Paramount, only to become the studio’s supervising art director for features. Until a degenerative eye disease caused him to go blind, Nozaki worked on numerous films, including “Houdini,” “The Pony Express” and the science fiction classic, “War of the Worlds.” He received an Academy Award nomination with Hal Pereira and Walter H. Tyler for their work on the 1956 epic, “The Ten Commandments.”
In 2000, the Art Directors Guild Film Society paid tribute to Nozaki’s career.