- Associated Press - Tuesday, June 12, 2012

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - Oscar-nominated production designer J. Michael Riva, whose film credits include “The Amazing Spider-Man,” “A Few Good Men” and “The Color Purple,” has died after suffering a stroke in New Orleans. He was 63.

In a statement to The Associated Press on Tuesday, Sony Pictures spokesman Steve Elzer said Riva, who lived in Los Angeles, was in New Orleans working on the Quentin Tarantino film “Django Unchained” and was preparing to head to the set when he suffered a stroke June 1.

According to the statement, Riva died June 7 “surrounded by his family.”

Tarantino, who has been in New Orleans for months directing “Django Unchained,” said in a statement released through Elzer that the film crew is “devastated by this tragic loss as we persevere on his wonderful sets.”

Riva earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on 1985’s “The Color Purple.” His other production design work include three of the “Lethal Weapon” films, “Scrooged,” “The Goonies,” “Dave” and “Ordinary People.”

Amy Pascal, co-chairman of Sony Pictures Entertainment, said Riva was “a tremendous talent, able to tailor the look and mood of a story to the emotion in the script. We are stunned and saddened by his passing.”

Marc Webb, director of “The Amazing Spider-Man,” added: “Michael Riva was a wonderful collaborator, brilliant designer, an emphatic perfectionist _ but most of all he was a great friend. He was a gift from the universe and I will miss him like crazy.”

In an email, Elzer said a private family service has been planned for this week in Los Angeles. Planning is also under way for a public memorial and celebration in Riva’s honor but details have not been finalized, Elzer said.

The family has asked that contributions be made to either H.O.P.E. for Haiti or A Place Called Home, a South Central Los Angeles haven for at-risk youth that offers programs in education and the arts.





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