Website last updated: 26-2-2024

Ken Adam Knighted By Queen Elisabeth Ii

By: Anders Frejdh
Ken Adam knighted by Queen Elisabeth II 2003
Production designer Ken Adam's work has given him the rank of Knight Bachelor and the honorific of Sir Kenneth in the 2003 Queen’s Birthday Honours.

Sir Kenneth’s award was among those made to British citizens working in an overseas capacity and was presented “for services to film production design and to UK-German relations.”

In addition to his knighthood, Adam has received five Academy Award® nominations and won two Oscar® statuettes for Art Direction.

Born Klaus Adam in Berlin in 1921 and emigrating to England in 1934, Ken studied architecture at University College London and served a stint as an RAF fighter pilot in World War II. He began his film career in 1947 as a draftsman and rapidly graduated to the title of art director. In 1956, he earned his first Academy Award nomination for that year’s Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days.

His designs, influenced by his background in architecture, have resulted in some of the most stylistically unique and memorable film sets of the last five decades. The war room from Dr. Strangelove, the interior of Fort Knox in Goldfinger (1964) (1964), and the gadgetry and intimidating interiors of several other films in the James Bond series are but a few examples of the work for which he is admired. (Adam earned his third Academy Award nomination for the 1977 Bond feature, The Spy Who Loved Me.) Throughout his assignments on the Bond films, Adam has been additionally responsible for the designs of the vehicles that are so integral to the films’ plot lines.

In contrast to the clean modernism of the above-mentioned work, Adam has also designed lush period decor, efforts which have resulted in his winning two Academy Awards, for Barry Lyndon in 1975 and for The Madness of King George in 1994. The macabre world he designed for Addams Family Values (1993) was nominated as well. The film adaptation of the two-character stage play “Sleuth” (1972) and the ambitious period musical “Pennies from Heaven” (1981) are also among his credits.

Editor's note:
For more about Sir Ken Adam on From Sweden with Love, click here.

Photo above:
Ken Adam with producer Albert R. Broccoli and director Lewis Gilbert on the set of Moonraker. © 1979 Danjaq S.A. & United Artists Corporation. All rights reserved.

For more about Ken Adam's amazing life and career, check out his page on Wikipedia:



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Founder & Managing Editor: Anders Frejdh