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Charles Alvin Lisanby


Charles Lisanby with EmmyCharles Alvin Lisanby (b. January 22, 1924) is an American Emmy-winning production designer who helped pioneer color television scenic design. He has been nominated for 16 Emmys and has won four. In January 2010 Charles was inducted into the 19th Annual Academy of Television Arts and Sciences Hall of Fame alongside Don Pardo, the Smothers Brothers, Bob Stewart, and Gene Roddenberry. As well as his success in the entertainment industry, Charles is known for his great friendship with pop artist Andy Warhol.

Born in Princeton, Kentucky on his parents’ farm, Charles grew up listening to Radio City Music Hall’s regular radio broadcasts while he built scale models of his interpretations of the shows. As a small child Charles went to a fair where Philo Farnesworth was giving one of his famous public demonstrations of his invention, the television, and Charles’ interest in the medium began. He graduated high school at age 16; and a year later following the Pearl Harbor attacks he was drafted into the army. After an early discharge due to meningitis, Charles went to art school even though his father wanted him to become a doctor. After moving to New York City and working at an advertising agency, he got his first professional commission from the Friars Club at their New York headquarters. Charles remains a lifetime honorary member of the Friars Club where he met Ralph Levy and got his career started with CBS by working on the Billy the Kid ballet; the first non-musical broadcast on television. Charles worked for ABC, CBS, and NBC as well as numerous studios and corporations on game shows, made-for-television movies, mini-series, and advertising commercials. During his active career as an Art Director and Production Designer Charles frequently traveled between his two homes in Los Angeles and New York City and is currently retired.

In 2010 Charles Alvin Lisanby donated his life's work to James Madison University.16mm film projector running