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Wayne Fitzgerald (1930 – 2019), designed title sequences for “The Graduate” and “The Godfather”

Wikimedia Commons/Eric Fitzgerald

He was an influential designer of titles on more than 450 movies and television shows

Wayne Fitzgerald was a film title designer who created memorable title sequences for hundreds of movies and television shows. Among his most notable projects were the titles for “The Graduate,” the “Godfather” series, “Chinatown,” and “Footloose.” On television, his credits included “Dallas,” “Matlock,” and “The Dick Van Dyke Show.” Working first for Pacific Title and then striking out on his own to form Wayne Fitzgerald FilmDesign, Fitzgerald was at the forefront of a midcentury shift in style for title sequences. In early Hollywood, the title was simple, a single shot with the movie’s name and a few key personnel credited. As movies became more complicated and more and more names began to be credited in the titles, the sequences got boring – until designers like Fitzgerald got creative. He worked to create a sequence that would set the stage for the movie that followed, as when he introduced “9 to 5” with a hectic montage of people busily starting their workdays. Fitzgerald won three Emmy Awards for his work.

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Died: September 30, 2019 (Who else died on September 30?)

Details of death: Died on Whidbey Island, Washington after a period of declining health at the age of 89.

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Bonnie and Clyde: One of Fitzgerald’s most celebrated titles was for the 1967 film “Bonnie and Clyde.” He interspersed a series of vintage photos with the credits, setting the mood and referencing the crime-spree couple’s penchant for sending snapshots of themselves to the press. It was while Fitzgerald was designing the “Bonnie and Clyde” sequence that he started his own company. He met resistance from studio heads regarding his concept and was encouraged to go it alone and have more control over his work by Warren Beatty, the film’s star. Beatty would bring in Fitzgerald to work on his movies in the future when he began to direct, including his Oscar-winning “Reds.”

What people said about him: “Rest in peace, Wayne Fitzgerald, the illustrious and inventive main title designer who set the mood and ambience for movies as dissimilar as PILLOW TALK, ROSEMARY’S BABY, and THE GODFATHER PART II, among 460 listed credits, with his often entertaining, always masterful openings.” —Tribeca Film Festival

“Such an amazing talent. What a legacy he leaves behind.” —actress Kimberley Kates

Full obituary: Los Angeles Times

Related lives:

  • Anne V. Coates (1925 - 2018), pioneering film editor
  • Don Peterman (1932 - 2011), cinematographer’s credits include “Flashdance”
  • Frank E. Morriss (1927 - 2013), film editor was Oscar-nominated for “Romancing the Stone”