Bel Geddes, Norman

Bel Geddes, Norman

(gĕd`ēz), 1893–1958, American designer, b. Adrian, Mich. as Norman Melancton Geddes. He began his career in 1918 as a scene designer for the Metropolitan Opera. He became known for imaginative designs, both for the New York stage and for numerous streamlined industrial products. Geddes also designed several theaters and other buildings in the United States and abroad. His design approach was exemplified by the General Motors pavilion and its "Futurama" display at the 1939 New York World's Fair.

Bibliography

See his posthumous Miracle in the Evening (1960); D. Albrecht, ed., Norman Bel Geddes Designs America (2012).

His daughter, Barbara Bel Geddes, 1922–2005, b. New York City, an actress, created the role of Maggie the Cat in Tennessee Williams's Cat on a Hot Tin Roof (1955) and the title role in Jean Kerr's Mary, Mary (1961). Her film work included Elia Kazan's Panic in the Streets (1950) and Alfred Hitchcock's Vertigo (1958). She also had a leading role in the 1970s and 80s in the television series Dallas.

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Bel Geddes, Norman

(1893–1958) industrial and theatrical designer; born in Adrian, Mich. After study at the Art Institute of Chicago he became stage designer at New York's Metropolitan Opera in 1918. From 1920 to 1937 his designs for Broadway plays, notably The Miracle (1923), and his film sets marked him as an innovator in modern stage lighting. A vigorous self-promoter and visionary, he pioneered industrial design with the 1927 establishment of a firm to create streamlined versions of household appliances, cars, ships, and airplanes.
The Cambridge Dictionary of American Biography, by John S. Bowman. Copyright © Cambridge University Press 1995. Reproduced with permission.