Carmen Dillon

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Carmen Dillon
Born (1908-10-25)25 October 1908
Hendon, London
Died 12 April 2000(2000-04-12) (aged 91)
Hove, East Sussex
Occupation Art director
Years active 1938 - 1979

Carmen Dillon (25 October 1908, Hendon, London, England – 12 April 2000, Hove, East Sussex, England) was an English film and production designer who won an Oscar for the Olivier version of Hamlet (1948).[1]


Dillon was born in Hendon to Teresa and Joseph Thomas Dillon. She was one of six children for whom their Catholic parents paid to get well educated. Carmen went to the New Hall Convent School in Chelmsford. The elder brother died during World War one, a sister became a nun and another brother emigrated. Carmen and her sister Agnes (known as Una) and Teresa were left to fulfil their parent's ambition for them.[2]

Dillon initially worked as an architect but in 1934 she was invited to join the film industry.[3] This built of her enthusiasm for acting and drawing. She became a film and production designer, who won an Oscar for the Olivier's 1948 film of Hamlet.[1] It was said that for twenty-five years she was the only women film director in the British film industry.[4]

None of the three Dillon sisters married and they spent 42 years together in a large flat in Kensington. Tess Dillon had led the physics department at Queen Elizabeth College.[4] In 1985 Carman retired to Hove with her sister "Una" who had founded Dillons Booksellers.[2] Carmen survived her sister and died in 2000 with no survivors.[5]

Production designer/Art director[edit]


  1. ^ a b " Carmen Dillon - Awards". Retrieved 2008-12-20. 
  2. ^ a b Jean H. Cook, ‘Dillon, Agnes Joseph Madeline [Una] (1903–1993)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, May 2009 accessed 11 April 2017
  3. ^ Laurie N. Ede, ‘Dillon, Carmen Joseph (1908–2000)’, Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, Oxford University Press, 2004; online edn, Jan 2011 accessed 11 April 2017
  4. ^ a b Virginia Nicholson (5 June 2008). Singled Out: How Two Million Women Survived Without Men After the First World War. Penguin Adult. pp. 262–. ISBN 978-0-14-102062-4. 
  5. ^ "Carmen Dillon, 91, Art Director Known for Work on British Films". New York Times. 2000-04-28. ISSN 0362-4331. Retrieved 2017-04-11. 

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