Jacques Mapes, art director for such stylish musicals as "Singin' in the Rain" and producing partner of the late Ross Hunter, has died. He was 88.
Mapes died Saturday in his sleep at his home in the Trousdale area of Beverly Hills, publicist Warren Cowan announced. Cowan said Mapes had not been ill, and died of natural causes.
Together, Mapes and Hunter, who died of cancer in 1996, produced such films as "Thoroughly Modern Millie" starring Julie Andrews in 1967 and "Airport" in 1970.
Throughout their long association, the two also produced several plays and revues in small theaters throughout Los Angeles and in San Diego and New Orleans. They were major backers of annual Southland Theatre Artists Goodwill Event shows, which raise funds for the AIDS Service Center and AIDS Healthcare Foundation, among other groups.
On his own, Mapes produced the 1967 movie "Rosie!" starring Rosalind Russell and based on Ruth Gordon's Broadway play titled "A Very Rich Woman."
He also produced extensively for television, including movies such as "The Lives of Jenny Dolan" in 1975 and "Suddenly, Love" in 1978 and the 1976 miniseries "Arthur Hailey's 'The Moneychangers.'"
With Hunter, he produced the 1978 television special "A Family Upside Down," which earned an Emmy for Fred Astaire.
After growing up in Hollywood, Mapes began his career as an RKO set decorator, working on the 1939 film "The Hunchback of Notre Dame" starring Charles Laughton.
After serving in the Navy during World War II, he created sets for such movies as "Delightfully Dangerous" in 1945 and "Good Sam" starring Gary Cooper and Ann Sheridan in 1948.
When Mapes introduced Sheridan to his good friend Hunter, the actress asked Hunter to produce her upcoming 1953 film at Universal, "Take Me to Town." The movie's success boosted both the producer's career and the studio's financial future.
Mapes went to MGM, creating sets for "Singin' in the Rain," "Everything I Have Is Yours" and "Latin Lovers." He also worked on sets for television's glamorous "The Loretta Young Show" and created a popular shampoo commercial boasting that "four out of five Hollywood stars" used the product.
He left no immediate survivors, and, at his request, no services are planned.