Film Series: Hollywood’s Architect: The Paul R. Williams Story

Stream January 20-24, 2021 (Link on
Directed by Royal Rodgers Kennedy & Kathy McCampbell Vance
2020, USA, 56 Minutes • PREVIEW

African American architect Paul R. Williams defied the odds to become one of the most notable architects in history. From the early 1920s until his retirement 50 years later, Williams was one of the most prolific architects in America. His list of celebrity clients included Frank Sinatra, Cary Grant, Barbara Stanwyck, William Holden, Lucille Ball, and Desi Arnaz. He is noted for his mastery of various iconic architectural styles that include the Beverly Hills Hotel, the original MCA Headquarters Building, and LAX Airport’s signature “The Theme Building.” Because of racial prejudice, Paul Williams was not always welcome in the restaurants and hotels he designed, or the neighborhoods where he built homes, even at the height of his career. This film explores how Paul Williams, the first African American Member, Fellow, and Gold Medal recipient of the American Institute of Architects, used his fortitude, talent, and determination to overcome discrimination and create a portfolio of work that can be found nationwide.

Architecture + Design Film Series’ Free SCREEN FROM HOME events occur once a month and are released Wednesdays through April 2021.

Films will be released for a 5-day viewing window each month, see their films page for a complete listing of screenings, dates, and information. Links for each screening will be provided on their homepage each month.