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Eames, Charles (17 June 1907–21 August 1978), architect, furniture designer, and filmmaker, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Charles Ormond Eames, a Pinkerton security officer, and Marie Celine Adele Pauline Lambert. In 1921 Eames’s discovery of photographic equipment belonging to his father, who had died that year, initiated his lifelong interest in photography. He began his formal architectural education at Washington University in St. Louis on a scholarship in 1925. Prior to his enrollment, Eames had worked as a laborer with the LaClede Steel Company and as a designer of electrical lighting fixtures with the Edwin F. Guth Fixture Company, and while attending the university he worked summers as a draftsman in a St. Louis architectural office, Trueblood and Graf. He left school in 1928, his sophomore year. Despite his lack of a formal degree in architecture, other jobs and contacts in St. Louis substantially contributed to his education and to the development of his interests and skills in all aspects of design....

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Geddes, Norman Bel (21 April 1893–08 May 1958), scene and lighting designer, industrial designer, and producer, was born Norman Melancton Geddes in Adrian, Michigan, the son of Clifton Terry Geddes and Gloria Lulu Yingling. He was educated in public schools in Michigan, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Illinois before attending the Cleveland School of Art and the prestigious Chicago Art Institute by the time he was sixteen years old. When he was in his early twenties, Geddes had his earliest successes as a magazine and poster artist in Detroit, Michigan. He designed his first theatrical production, ...

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Mostel, Zero (28 February 1915–08 September 1977), actor and painter, was born Samuel Joel Mostel in Brooklyn, New York, the son of Israel Mostel and Celia (originally Zina) Druchs, Orthodox Jewish immigrants who ran a kosher vineyard and slaughterhouse. Although Mostel was raised in a religious household and later displayed a special affinity for Jewish characters, his father was not a rabbi as has often been reported; Mostel’s penchant for improvisation extended to his autobiography, and he creatively refashioned his past in interviews throughout his life. Most notably, he sometimes attributed his numeric nickname to his “financial standing in the community” (as he testified to the House Committee on Un-American Activities in 1955), but he more regularly credited the label to his supposedly undistinguished schoolwork. Despite these suggested derivations, his stage name may simply have been the innovation of an early publicist. In 1939 he married Clara Sverd; they were divorced in 1941....

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Price, Vincent (27 May 1911–25 October 1993), actor and art collector, was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the son of Vincent Leonard Price, a candy company president, and Marguerite Cobb Willcox. Price studied art history and English at Yale University and toured Europe as a member of the Yale Glee Club. After graduating in 1933, he made an unsuccessful attempt to obtain work as an actor in New York, then took a teaching job with the Riverdale (N.Y.) Country Day School. In 1934 Price began graduate study in fine arts at London University’s Courtald Institute. He wrote his master’s thesis on “Dürer and the School of the Danube” and auditioned for roles on the London stage....

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Tchelitchew, Pavel (21 September 1898–31 July 1957), painter and stage designer, was born in Kaluga, Russia, near Moscow, the son of Fedor Chelishchev and Nadezhda Permyakov, progressive aristocrats who implemented Tolstoian ideals in caring for the peasants on their vast estates. He received private tutoring and began drawing at an early age, inspired by the illustrations of Gustave Doré. He attended Moscow University from 1916 until 1918 and studied art at Moscow’s Academy. The family fled to Kiev following the Russian Revolution of 1918. Tchelitchew studied at the Kiev Academy under Alexandra Exter, who applied the principles of Russian constructivism to theatrical design. He designed posters and collaborated on a series of music hall productions with Isaac Rabinovitch, an important Soviet stage designer. Around 1919 Tchelitchew’s style began to evolve away from cubist abstraction, employing curving lines and some representational elements....

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Urban, Joseph (26 May 1872–10 July 1933), architect, scenic designer, and illustrator, was born Josef Karl Maria Georg Urban in Vienna, Austria, the son of Josef Urban, an official in the Viennese school system, and Helen Weber. Although his family hoped he would become a lawyer, in 1890 Urban enrolled at the Polytechnicum in Vienna for courses in architectural engineering and at the Imperial and Royal Academy, where he studied architectural design and aesthetics under the architect Karl von Hasenauer....