Wednesday, June 18, 2008

A true unique one passes away

Found this not in the News & Observer (where it first ran) but on Nonetheless, this is worth noting, and I'm glad I came across this as I never had heard of Sidney Jackson Bartholomew Jr., who passed away at his home in L.A. on June 15.

He was born in Tarboro, NC on August 5, 1953 to Jack and Frances Bartholomew. He received his Bachelor of Arts degree from Appalachian State University where he studied visual art under William Dunlap. He later earned a Masters degree in art from Memphis State University.

He was influenced by many 20th- century pop artists and eventually worked as an assistant to the iconic conceptual artist Christo. His career in the entertainment industry was launched when he channeled his outsized and anthropomorphic sensibility into his first major job as art director on Peewee’s Playhouse. He was hired to create the setting for the show at its inception and his efforts garnered an Emmy Award in Art Direction.

His success with Peewee’s Playhouse made him an in-demand art director for music videos. He worked with many of the major music video directors in the ’80’s and ’90’s and is remembered for bringing his signature style to many memorable videos, in particular George Harrison’s 'I Got My Mind Set on You'.

In 1994 he moved to the big screen as production designer for Dumb & Dumber. This was the beginning of a long and productive relationship with Peter and Bobby Farrelly. Sidney rovided much of the artistic vision on all the Farrelly Brothers films including Kingpin, There’s Something About Mary, and most recently The Heartbreak Kid. Peter Farrelly said, 'He was a total weirdo, the best kind of weirdo, and most talented artist I’ve ever known, but his huge heart will be the thing I’ll most remember when I think of Sidney J.'

In 2002 he wrote and directed the kids soccer film Just For Kicks for MGM.

He was also a great blues harp player, world-class animal lover, and avid sailor.

In addition to his achievements in the Art and Entertainment worlds, Sidney J. Bartholomew, Jr. will live on in legend for once driving a car off a cliff, another time running 12 troopers to the North Carolina state line in his buddy Merle’s Maserati, jamming with Vassar Clements, and other exploits that will titillate minds and hearts far and wide for years to come.

Bartholomew was preceded in death by his parents and his "loyal and beloved airedales Jack, Scout and Bubba."

RIP, Mr. Bartholomew.

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