The partners at Design Partners Inc. (DPI) and 200 guests honored Bill Klages with a wonderful evening of cocktails, dinner, music, and special tributes. Hosted by DPI, the "50 Years Lighting the Stars" fete was held this Saturday evening, October 22, at West Hollywood's Bel Age Hotel.
The guest list boasted many of Bill's immediate family, long-time friends, and outstanding members of the creative community and included well-known producers, directors, lighting designers, and production designers. Among those attending were: Taylor Hackford, Walter C. Miller, Sonny Sonnenfeld, Steve Binder, Kimber Rickabaugh, Louis Horvitz, George Dibie, Kevin Bright, Keiran Healy, Bob Dickinson, Alan Walker, Roy Christopher, Joe Stewart, John Shaffner, Deborah Oppenheimer, Lee Miller, John Conti, Bill Davis, Bob Dickinson, Jeff Engel, Marilyn Lowey, Jeff Ravitz, George Riesenberger, Alan Walker, Ted Wells, and Michael Zinman.
Among the speakers were DPI managing partner Linda Korbel, DPI president Greg Brunton, and director/producer Walter C. Miller, who served as master of ceremonies. Arthur Klages, Bill's brother, fondly remembered their parents and how, in the early years of television, Bill learned the business and developed the skills to become a world-renowned lighting designer. Sonny Sonnenfeld, a 50-year veteran of the architectural and stage lighting industry and 2003 recipient of the Wally Russell Lifetime Achievement Award, took the microphone to 'roast' Bill's 50 years of lighting experience. Jonathan Klages, Bill's son, made a brief but poignant speech about his father's life-long support, sharing with guests how his father had once literally given him the shirt off his own back.
Klages gave a short slide presentation accompanied by his own humorous commentary about his many experiences in the film and television production industry. With great appreciation he thanked guests for celebrating with him.
As a final tribute, guests were offered an opportunity to share their own stories and tributes with Bill. Guests who related their own experiences included Max Brenner, George Dibie, Kevin Bright, Gene Crowe, John Shaffner, and Steve Binder.
The Bill Klages '50 Years Lighting the Stars' celebration was organized and sponsored by Design Partners Inc. of Los Angeles.
About Bill Klages: Review a list of television's outstanding productions, and you'll find Bill's name attached. He established his reputation with his first show at NBC, the dramatic series, Playwrights '56. He lit landmark shows starring the likes of Ray Bolger, Nat King Cole, Ernie Kovacs, Sid Caesar, Milton Berle, and Perry Como. Bill's artistry continued with The Kraft Music Hall, The Big Show, Herb Alpert and the Tijuana Brass, My Name is Barbra, Color Me Barbra, Ol' Blue Eyes is Back, Night of 100 Stars, Motown at the Apollo, Playhouse 90, the Dorothy Hamill Specials, Sweeney Todd, Baryshnikov by Tharp, Sunday in the Park, Kennedy Center Honors, The Tony Awards, Christmas in Washington, The Emmy Awards, The Country Music Awards, and Faerie Tale Theater.
In the 80s and 90s, Bill became the lighting force behind many of television's extravagant events. His lighting design awed spectators and viewers at the 1984 Olympics Closing Ceremonies, Dedication of the Statue of Liberty, and The Grammy Awards. His eye for perfection has found permanence in the lighting facility design for the 24,000-seat Latter Day Saints Assembly Hall in Salt Lake City, the 16,000-seat Lakewood Church in Houston, as well as numerous television facilities throughout the United States.