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John Dennis Hoesli

Movie art director with Glarner connection is best known for being the art director on fils such a John Huston's The African Queen, Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyseey and many other well known movies.



John Hoesli learned his cinematic craft as a late teenager just before the outbreak of World War II; at 19, he was an assistant production designer on Alfred Hitchcock's smuggler drama Reef Pirates. After his wartime service, Hoesli resumed his film work in 1945 as a draftsman, but returned to assistant film architect in the early 1950s. As an accessory to Wilfred Shingleton, for example, he organized the rickety, titular steamboat "African Queen" in John Huston's largely two-person comedy-drama of the same name in 1951. Towards the end of the 1950s, Hoesli was also allowed to work as a film architect for the first time.


In his career as a set designer, John Hoesli was responsible on several occasions for elaborate adventure films such as Raid of the Vikings and Storm over Jamaica, thrillers such as Boots that Mean Death and The Needle, as well as the political drama The Wilby Conspiracy and the set material The Prince and the Pauper, but not for comedies. Hoesli is best remembered for his work on Stanley Kubrick's science fiction classic 2001: A Space Odyssey, where he assisted chief designer Tony Masters and worked with him and two other colleagues to create the futuristic design for this two-and-a-half-hour major production. Hoesli retired from the film business again in 1986. He died in Bracknell, Berkshire in England in 1997.


Hoesli appeared as a film architect or set designer in:


- 1957: The Long Haul

- 1960: Swiss Family Robinson

- 1962: I Could Go on Singing

- 1962: Stolen Hours

- 1963: The Long Ships

- 1964: A High Wind in Jamaica

- 1967: 2001: A Space Odyssey

- 1969: The Adventurers

- 1971: Blind Terror

- 1973: Zardoz

- 1974: The Wilby Conspiracy

- 1976: Crossed Swords

- 1977: The Cat and the Canary

- 1980: Eye of the Needle

- 1983: Sahara

- 1984: Santa Claus: The Movie

- 1986: The Last Days of Patron (TV movie)



John Dennis Hoesli was British, born 1919 in London to an English mother and Glarus born Johannes (John) Hösli (1888-1978). Father Johannes Hösli was born to Fridolin Hösli (1861-1932), a factory worker, and Anna Maria Hösli (1866-1937) on March 2, 1888 in Riedern near Glarus. He became a commercial employee and moved to London, where he married Annie Elizabeth Collyer (1888-1980), a native of London, in 1918. John Dennis was the firstborn and he had two more brothers, Biddy (1921) and Peter (1923).


Sources: Inspired by Bob Elmer's Family History Notes, Winter 2021

John Hoesli on IMDb.com

John Hoesli on peoplepill.com

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