Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story
Streamd now or tune in Monday, Nov. 23, 2020 at 10 p.m. on KPBS TV
Tuesday, November 24, 2020
Credit: Courtesy of PBS SoCal
Nicknamed "Architect to the Stars," African American architect Paul R. Williams had a life story that could have been dreamed up by a Hollywood screenwriter. From the early 1920s until his retirement 50 years later, Williams was one of the most successful architects in the country.
His list of residential clients included Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden, Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz. And his name is associated with architectural icons like the Beverly Hills Hotel, the original MCA Headquarters Building and LAX Airport.
But at the height of his career Paul Williams wasn't always welcome in the restaurants and hotels he designed or the neighborhoods where he built homes, because of his race.
“Hollywood's Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story” will explain how he used talent, determination and even charm to defy the odds and create a body of work that can be found from coast to coast.
The film is narrated by Tony and Emmy® award-winning actor Courtney B. Vance. Interviewees include grandchildren of Paul R. Williams Karen Hudson and Paul Hudson, family friend Quincy Jones as well as Paul R. Williams homeowners Robert Iger, Pauletta Washington, Steve Tisch and more.
Notable interviews from the architectural world include Smithsonian Institution’s Dr. Lonnie Bunch, LA Conservancy’s Linda Dishman, the City of Los Angeles’s Chief Design Officer Christopher Hawthorne and architectural historian Dr. Wesley Henderson.
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© 2019 PBS SoCal and RKR Media, LLC. Produced / Directed by Royal Kennedy Rodgers and Kathy McCampbell Vance.
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