Oscar-winning set decorator Stephenie McMillan, who worked on all eight Harry Potter films, dies at her Norfolk home
PUBLISHED: 22:09 23 August 2013 | UPDATED: 22:17 23 August 2013
Archant copyright 2011
An Oscar-winning set decorator who worked on top films including the Harry Potter series has died at her Norfolk home, aged 71.
Stephenie McMillan died at her home in Weston Longville, near Taverham, on Monday due to complications of ovarian cancer.
Ms McMillan almost always worked alongside Norfolk-born production designer Stuart Craig, sharing the 1997 Oscar for Best Art Direction and Set Decoration with him, for The English Patient.
Their work on the Harry Potter films brought them another four Oscar nominations.
Ms McMillan last spoke with the EDP and Norwich Evening News in the summer of 2011, as the final film in the Harry Potter series, Deathly Hallows Part 2, was screened at Cinema City in Norwich.
Discussing the huge success of the Harry Potter films alongside Mr Craig, Ms McMillan said: “The more it went on the less able we would have been to relinquish it and walk away. It was Stuart’s creation.”
Ms McMillan said one of her favourite sets was when the great hall was radically transformed for Hogwarts’ Yule Ball in the fourth film, with metres of silver fabric and ice sculptures.
“It’s the same job whether you are dressing a prison cell with an old mattress and a tin mug, or a palace with silk curtains and chandeliers,” she said. “We put the same amount of thought into it.”
The daughter of a toy salesman, Stephenie Lesley McMillan was born on July 20, 1942, in Essex.
She began her working life as a secretary in an architect’s office before going on to help a commercial photographer in the late 1960s, where she picked up many of the key skills to move into television commercials and eventually films in the 1980s.
Ms McMillan worked on more than 20 movies, including A Fish Called Wanda with John Cleese and Jamie Lee Curtis in 1988 and Notting Hill, starring Hugh Grant and Julia Roberts, in 1999.
Ms McMillan is survived by her partner, Phil Hardy, and two daughters, Tamsin and Sasha.