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Last Updated: Wednesday, 23 March, 2005, 15:30 GMT
Zhivago's set designer dies at 85
Peter O'Toole in Lawrence of Arabia
Box won his first Oscar in 1963 for Lawrence of Arabia
John Box, the Oscar-winning British art director who designed sets for Oliver!, Doctor Zhivago and Lawrence of Arabia, has died at the age of 85.

The celebrated production designer died on 7 March at a Leatherhead hospice. A private funeral has already been held.

Box had a reputation for recreating exotic locations in unlikely settings.

He constructed a walled Chinese city in Snowdonia for The Inn of the Sixth Happiness and built Doctor Zhivago's Russian country house in Spain.

Born in London, Box trained as an architect and served with the Royal Armoured Corps in France during World War II.

He joined the film industry as a draughtsman and was an art director by the mid-1950s, working on films like 1953's The Million Pound Note and 1956's Zarak.

Sir David Lean
Box also worked with Sir David Lean (above) on Doctor Zhivago
In 1958, he famously chose Wales to double for China after Chinese authorities refused permission for The Inn of the Sixth Happiness to be filmed there.

"I just had a feeling that Wales and Chinese watercolours had an affinity," said Box.

Box worked with director Sir David Lean on Lawrence of Arabia, A Passage to India and Zhivago. For the latter he used white plastic sheets and marble dust to fabricate a snowy Russian landscape.

His other films include A Man For All Seasons, Nicholas and Alexandra, The Great Gatsby and Rollerball (1975).

He last worked in 1995 on the Richard Gere epic First Knight, which saw him recreate Camelot in a Welsh reservoir.

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