Mickey has been fortunate to intertwine his career as a set decorator with his avocations: the fire department, the field of aviation, and the military.
His first experience in combining work with pleasure was the original Airport movie for which he was nominated for an Academy Award. Shortly afterward, he began working on the pilot of Emergency! with Jack Webb, Bob Cinader, and the LA County Fire Department. It was during this time that he had the good fortune to travel with the engine cross-country visiting fire stations and informing departments about the idea of a paramedic squad. Mickey says that "working on the show was like working with family. Everyone, the actors, the behind the camera crew and the county of Los Angeles cared about the product (weekly show) and the way in which the fire department was portrayed. Maintaining realism was as important as telling the story."
After his two-year stint on Emergency!, his interest in aviation called him back to the Airport movies. He is proud of the fact that his is one of only three people who worked on all four of the Airports, one of which (Airport 77) earned him his second Oscar Nomination. Additional movies that he categorizes as part of the aviation portion of his career are: Airport 75, Airport 79, The Pursuit of D.B. Cooper, Blue Thunder and Flight of the Intruder.
His knowledge of both the fire department and of hospitals make him an expert in this field and he spend many years putting this knowledge to work on shows like Police Story, The Bold One, OHara-U.S. Treasury, Conspiracy to Kill -The D.A. and Ironsides.
From the venue of the air, he moved to outerspace. His feature and TV show credits include Battlestar Galactica (Emmy Nomination), Star Trek IV, and Deep Space Nine (Emmy Nomination).
From outerspace, he moved into an area that he truly believes has been the most rewarding of his career. He was able to combine his love of the sea with the military and security agencies of the United States. He worked with the Navy and Tom Clancy to build and decorate The Hunt for Red October. He again worked with Tom Clancy and the CIA on Clear and Present Danger. His experiences made him the decorator of the 90s for submarines. He decorated Crimson Tide and Down Periscope and in semi-retirement was a special consultant to Sub Down.
Mickey is considered by his contemporaries in the Set Decorators Society of America to be the "Tec Dec". This nickname follows him today as he continues to consult on shows and package ideas and projects for the industry that he has loved since he was a professional ice skater on the road and in films. He says, "this industry has given me a lifetime of pleasure and world of knowledge. I am forever appreciative and grateful for the many opportunities I have had in Hollywood."
© 1998 by Rozane
Mickey Michaels passed away Saturday, March 20th in his sleep, at home.
For those of you who had the opportunity to meet Mr. Michaels at the convention, you know first hand what a wonderful and caring person he was.
Our hearts and prayers go out to Mickey's wife, Barbara, and their entire family.
Barbara has generously lent some of Mickey's many photographs to us so that fellow fans might enjoy them. You can visit Mickey's gallery here.
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