Eugene Lee, Award-Winning Wicked and SNL Set Designer, Dies at 83

Lee served as the ”Saturday Night Live” production designer since 1975.

Tony-winning set designer Eugene Lee has died at 83.
Tony-winning set designer Eugene Lee has died at 83.
(© Tristan Fuge)

Eugene Lee, a multi-Tony Award-winning scenic designer and longtime production designer for Saturday Night Live, died on February 7 in Providence, Rhode Island. He was 83.

Lee served as production designer for Saturday Night Live since its debut in 1975, and was the longest-serving member of the show's production staff. Over the course of his tenure, he earned 18 Emmy Award nominations, winning six trophies. He additionally worked as production designer of The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon from 2014 to 2018.

Lee enjoyed an extensive theatrical career, with 27 Broadway credits to his name. He earned Tony Awards for his scenic design for Candide (1974), Sweeney Todd (original 1979 production), and Wicked (2004). He was also nominated for his work on the original 1998 production of Ragtime. Some of his other Broadway credits include Merrily We Roll Along (1981), Show Boat (1994), Seussical (2000), A Streetcar Named Desire (2012), Glengarry Glen Ross (2012), The Other Place (2013), and Bright Star (2016).

Lee served as the resident set designer for Trinity Rep in Providence until his death and was pivotal in the theater's founding. His longtime friend and Trinity Rep's founding artistic director Adrian Hall died on February 4 at the age of 95.